My Ring doorbell went berserk - I couldn't believe what police were doing to my home

An innocent 65-year-old watched police smash their way in to his home while he was working nearly 100 miles away.

Leo Wallace-Barr, 65, was on a job in Ambleside, Cumbria when his Ring Doorbell app "suddenly started going berserk". Leo, who owns his own knife-sharpening business, had left his home in Speke early that day and was setting up his tools in the Lake District just before 9am when his phone began to alert him.

Speaking to the ECHO, Leo said: "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.

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"So I relented and opened the app. Then I saw all these people outside my house. There was a big commotion going on."

Startled by what he was seeing, Leo checked his home's internal camera. He said: "I opened Apple Home and saw a mob of ant-like people swarming around inside."

Leo Wallace-Barr, whose house in Speke was raided by police
Leo Wallace-Barr, whose house in Speke was raided by police -Credit:Liverpool Echo

But they weren't typical home intruders - they were police officers in uniform.

At first, Leo says, he assumed he had been the victim of a robbery, and that police were there to assist him. He said: "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."

In Ambleside, Leo downed his tools and rushed home to see what was happening. By the time he arrived, everything was quiet outside his house, but his front doors had been smashed in and boarded up. He went inside and saw police had searched through the property, including the attic space, and also, he claims, "went through his clothes".

Footage from the doorbell shows police using power tools and lifting the entire front door of the property away. Leo said: "It was just horrible. I felt like I'd been assaulted. It was a massive violation."

Leo says he was particularly upset about the effect the incident had on his cat. He said: "My poor cat was hiding for three days afterwards. She didn't eat properly for a week. I was really angry about it."

He called 101 to find out what had prompted the raid on his home. He was told by an officer that a warrant had been issued by a court and police had entered the property under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

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

He claims he was told by police that their suspicions had been raised by the air conditioning units he had installed at his property, coupled with the frosted windows in place downstairs. The implication being - according to Leo - that he had a cannabis farm operating in his house.

Once Leo had spoken to police, concerned about security, he set about replacing the front doors. He found a door fitter who came round to replace the two doors at a cost of £1,800.

He then went to speak to his neighbours. He said: "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 currently going through the process of claiming compensation for the cost of repairing his doors, but is frustrated by the reams of paperwork involved and the time and effort it will take to sort things out.

The smashed-in door at Leo's home in Speke
Leo Wallace-Barr's Ring doorbell showed police smashing their way in to his home

He said: "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."

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police told the ECHO: "We can confirm that a search warrant was carried out at a property in Speke on Friday 7 June.

"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.

Air conditioning units on Leo Wallace-Barr's house in Speke. He believes they led police to falsely assume he had a cannabis farm
Leo Wallace-Barr's Ring doorbell showed police smashing their way in to his home

"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."

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