Armed police descend on Colchester housing estate after young boys seen with 'firearm'

Armed police were called to the scene (stock image)
-Credit: (Image: PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC)

Two young boys were arrested by armed police after reports of a firearm being exchanged in a Colchester housing estate. Armed police were sent to an address near Wagtail Mews, in Stanway, shortly after 4pm on July 1.

Essex Police said they received a number of reports from the public of a group of young people being seen to pass a suspicious item between them. It was described as a firearm and witness reports also suggested threatening language had been heard.

Within 15 minutes, two teenage boys had been safely arrested and an item which was identified by the officers as a BB gun and a number of ammunition pellets were made safe and seized. The boys, aged 13 and 12, were questioned on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm and have been released under investigation.

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Detective Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston, duty command officer for north Essex, said: "When these reports came in, they were immediately identified as having a clear impact on members of the public who were in the area at the time – and that is not acceptable. This interaction took place in a green area which was being used by families and our immediate priority was their safety.

"As a result of the description of the item being passed between people, an armed policing unit was sent to the scene and made two quick arrests and that investigation will now progress appropriately."

DCI Huddleston added: "Thankfully, armed incidents in Essex are extremely rare. Even trained officers often cannot say with 100% certainty whether a firearm is viable or imitation until they can physically examine it, so to those members of the public who took immediate steps to alert us to this, I would really like to thank you for doing so."