Helpless man watches on doorbell camera as police raid his home

An innocent man watched in horror on his video doorbell as police smashed their way into his home while he was almost 100 miles away working. Leo Wallace-Barr, 65, was on a job when without warning his doorbell app began to alert non-stop. Leo, who runs a knife-sharpening business, had left his home in the Speke area of Liverpool early the same day.

He was setting up his equipment in in Ambleside, Cumbria, shortly before 9am when his mobile started buzzing with alerts. "I usually ignore it when I'm at work. It's generally just people delivering flyers or something. But the notifications just went on and on," he said.

Reluctantly he eventually opened the app and found a frantic scene outside his house featuring a large throng of people. Shocked by the sight Leo checked his home through the lens of his internal camera, reports the Liverpool Echo. He revealed: "I opened Apple Home and saw a mob of ant-like people swarming around inside."

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The intruders, though, were not burglars but uniformed police officers. Initially Leo thought that he might have been the victim of a break-in and the police were there to help. "When I saw it I thought, innocently enough, maybe some dangerous armed robber had broken in and they'd seen it and chased him away."

Leo Wallace Barr
Leo Wallace Barr -Credit:Liverpool Echo

In the Lake District Leo immediately stopped his work and hurried home upon learning of the commotion. When he got there the scene outside his house was calm but his front doors had been forcibly entered and temporarily sealed. Inside he discovered officers had conducted a thorough search, rummaging through everything, including the attic. He claims they also "went through his clothes".

Doorbell footage captured the moment police wielded power tools to remove the entire front door from Leo's property. Reflecting on the ordeal he said: "It was just horrible. I felt like I'd been assaulted. It was a massive violation."

The incident also had a distressing impact on Leo's pet. "My poor cat was hiding for three days afterwards. She didn't eat properly for a week. I was really angry about it."

Leo contacted the non-emergency police number to understand why his home was targeted. An officer informed him that the raid was executed under a court-issued warrant related to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Leo was bewildered. "I don't even smoke cigarettes," he said. "There aren't any ashtrays in my house. I'm a man in his 60s You just assume police are correct about things."

He was further taken aback when told by the police that the air conditioning units he installed and the frosted windows at his residence had aroused suspicion. Leo interpreted this as an insinuation that he was running a cannabis farm within his home.

After speaking with the police and growing concerned about his home's security Leo took immediate action to replace his front doors, hiring a door fitter who charged £1,800 for the job. He also reached out to his neighbours to express his regret over the disturbance, saying: "I went to the neighbours to apologise for what happened. They were very sympathetic. But I felt so ashamed and guilty over it. I could see on the Ring Doorbell app that everyone was walking by and gawking, rubber-necking. God knows what they thought."

Leo is now seeking compensation for the repairs to his doors though he finds himself bogged down by the extensive paperwork and the daunting prospect of the time and effort required to resolve the issue. "I don't have time to go to court over this. I stand up for 14 hours a day at work – it's very physical."

Air conditioning units on Leo Wallace-Barr's house
The smashed-in door

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that a search warrant was carried out at a property in Speke on Friday, June 7. Officers, acting on the basis of intelligence, carried out the warrant and entry was forced to the premises and a search completed, which proved negative.

"The force carries out rigorous checks when considering the use of warrants and they are only carried out based on sufficient intelligence and when sanctioned by a court. Following the warrant a complaint was made to Merseyside Police and inquiries were carried out by the force's Professional Standards Department (PSD). No formal action will be taken and the complainant has been informed."