A child’s plastic gun sparked an incredible four- hour siege by police officers in bullet proof vests.
The £2 toy was picked up from the pavement in the rain by good-natured grandad Alan Tindell.
He took it to his nearby home, intending to dry it off then pop it on his hedge for the owner to claim.
Instead, 65-year-old Alan found himself at the centre of a drama resembling a “badly-made American thriller movie.”
He said: “I went out to visit a friend and returned to find my house surrounded by police. They shouted “don’t move” so I froze. I was terrified.”
Officers, ordered bemused Alan to hand over his house keys.
“They’d been waiting four hours for me to arrive. They went straight inside and the toy gun was lying in the hallway, where I’d left it.
“It was then I realised they obviously thought I was a criminal and this was a real gun.”
Alan believes a neighbour in Emerson Valley’s Holton Hill saw him carrying the toy home on Tuesday afternoon and alerted the police.
“I can’t understand how anyone could mistake a cheap plastic toy for a real sub machine gun. It was a total waste of police time – and a horrible experience for me,” said the retired musician.
He said police apologised and explained why they had to act on any information about firearms. They left, carefully carrying the toy gun as “evidence”.
A police spokesman told the Citizen: “TVP received a report from a member of the public who was concerned that a man had been seen near a property in Holton Hill, Emerson Valley, with what was described as a firearm.
“Officers attended the scene and a man subsequently returned to the property.
“Officers checked the imitation-style gun, which was found not to be a live firearm.”