Armed police cause concern in resort

WORRIED residents watched in astonishment as armed police pointed their guns at several men lying on the ground in a quiet seafront street.

WORRIED residents watched in astonishment as armed police pointed their guns at several men lying on the ground in a quiet seafront street.

The road was sealed off and the men were surrounded in the dramatic incident before the plain clothes officers bundled them into a vehicle and quickly left the scene.

But today police reassured householders who thought they had witnessed the arrest of gangland drug dealers - and revealed the drama was not for real.

The incident at the corner of Manor Road and Manor Terrace in Felixstowe at 2pm yesterday was part of a training exercise for Suffolk police's armed officers.


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Ian Heeley, of King Street, Felixstowe, said: “There were between eight and 12 officers with handguns pointing them at these men on the ground.

“The men on the ground were face down and had their hands behind their backs.

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“It was a like a SWAT team had suddenly arrived out of the blue - and it certainly didn't look like an exercise.

“I thought it must be something to do with drugs.

“They shut off the entrance from Langer Road and just waved people past.”

A resident in Manor Road said: “It was quite frightening and I had no idea what was happening.

“It's not every day you see police with guns in your street. I stayed indoors - there was no way I was going out with all that going on, but it seemed to be all over quite fast.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Training in public is done fairly routinely - sometimes the areas we use are more public than others.

“The officers are completely professional in these situations and a risk management exercise is carried out before a location is used.

“Armed officers in Suffolk need to be fully trained and holding exercises in public areas provides a realistic environment for part of that training.

“Officers always speak to members of the public they see and reassure them about what is happening.”

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