Firearms alert triggered by teens pointing BB guns at each other
Published 05/08/2015 | 18:29
Armed police swooped on a city centre after a firearms alert was triggered by teenagers pointing BB guns at each other.
Staffordshire Police said it had seized two BB weapons and ammunition following the incident, which was all captured on CCTV in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, yesterday afternoon.
Three teenagers, aged 16 and 17, who were arrested on suspicion of firearms offences have all since been released on bail while police continue to investigate.
A 27-year-old man detained at the same time has been released and no further action will be taken against him.
The alert was sparked when the city's CCTV control unit saw what appeared to be armed men in the street and called in the police.
In response, armed officers and dog units were scrambled to the scene in Stafford Street just before 4.15pm.
The force has now issued a warning for people to think before going out in public with what could be mistaken by others as a real weapon.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "Anyone who chooses to carry BB guns, or imitation firearms, needs to understand they could be challenged by firearms officers at any time.
"They could be faced with a real firearm pointed at them and an officer shouting instructions.
"The officers have to make a split-second decision about if a threat is real or not from a distance.
"The actions of those carrying such weapons for fun causes fear amongst other people.
"It is not a game."
The force added: "We want to reassure members of the public what happened in Hanley yesterday was an isolated incident and no threats were made to passersby.
"There is no cause for undue concern and gun crime in the county remains low."