Armed brawl call a hoax, say police after scrambling helicopter response in Leiston

Man has wallet, mobile phone and walking stick stolen in Leiston

Man has wallet, mobile phone and walking stick stolen in Leiston - Credit: Archant

Police are investigating a hoax 999 call that sparked a massive operation involving armed officers in a Suffolk town.

A hoax caller reported seeing a group of three or four men with weapons fighting in the street outside flats in Leiston on Tuesday night.

Armed police units rushed to the scene after it was also reported that at least one person had been injured.

The police helicopter circled above while officers on the ground, including a dog unit, attempted to locate the alleged brawl, believed to be around the Charles Miller Court area.

But police were stood down when nothing was found and the incident is now being investigated as a hoax call.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Police believe that a phone call reporting a fight in Leiston was a hoax call.

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“The call was received at approximately 9am with the caller reporting that three or four men had been seen fighting and they possibly had weapons. At least one person was described as being injured.

“A number of police resources attended the incident, including armed response units and the police helicopter, but nothing was found.”

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Hoax calls to police have been labelled a “substantial drain on the resources of the emergency services”. Last year, more than 1,300 were received by call handlers.

In 2012 it was reported that the police helicopter costs £1,750 for each hour of flight. Police say it can search one square mile in 12 minutes.

Last month it was used to help track a number of people who had left the area of an alleged fight in Ipswich.

Three people were arrested after armed police were called to reports of a brawl involving a group of people in Victoria Street on Saturday, October 26.

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