A WEXFORD garda was injured during an arrest of a man who had been reported to have been in possession of a handgun at a busy town centre pub.
While the weapon turned out to be a pellet gun, gardai said they couldn't take any chances and had treated the report very seriously because it reportedly looked like a 'proper gun'.
Gardai were called to the Thomas Moore Tavern at 7 p.m. on Friday night after a man was seen with what appeared to be a handgun in the smoking area of the pub.
Four officers responded, but as plans were being made to clear the pub before attempting to tackle the man, he emerged from the front door and was confronted by the gardai who attemped to search and arrest him.
In the resulting struggle, Garda Alan Collins and the alleged gunman ended up in the roadway. With the help of two other guards, the man was restrained while the fourth officer dealt with the man's female companion who was interfering with the arrest.
The weapon, which is the man's jacket, was recovered and sent for analysis, although it was said to be a pellet gun with the appearance of a replica firearm.
'It looked like the real thing and we treated it it as if it was... in the darkness of a pub you wouldn't know it was a pellet gun, and because of the uncertainty we had to treat it very seriously,' said a garda spokesman.
'The intention was to clear the pub, close off the area and deal with it from there, but events overtook us when he came out of the door,' he said.
The man and woman were both arrested and subsequently released.
Garda Collins, who suffered a shoulder injury, is due back at work this week.