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You risk your life if you carry a fake gun, warns police, after Norwich clubland arrest

Prince of Wales Road. Picture Archant.

Prince of Wales Road. Picture Archant.

Archant

People who brandish imitation guns are risking their lives, at a time when armed police are on heightened alert because of terror attacks, according to Norwich’s policing commander.

Superintendent Dave Marshall, Norwich policing commander, in Prince of Wales Road. Pic: Dan Grimmer. Superintendent Dave Marshall, Norwich policing commander, in Prince of Wales Road. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Superintendent Dave Marshall issued the warning as a man is due to appear in court today charged with possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence in Norwich city centre.

Armed police swooped to arrest a man on Friday night after reports he had been pointing a gun while walking in Prince of Wales Road.

He was arrested in Bedford Street, three minutes after the initial 999 call by staff at Mercy nightclub. A man in his 20s will appear before Norwich magistrates this morning.

MORE: Norwich is safe and open for business, says nightclub manager, after firearm scare

Jason Payne, general manager at Mercy. Photo: Simon Finlay Jason Payne, general manager at Mercy. Photo: Simon Finlay

With the country still on alert following the terror attack on Borough Market in London, Supt Marshall said carrying an imitation gun in the city could have tragic consequences.

He said: “Someone who is in possession of what is, or appears to be a firearm, puts themselves at extreme risk. In context of where we are with the current terrorism threat anyone in possession of a weapon like that in the night-time economy is putting themselves at significant risk.

“Those officers who attend those incidents have to make split second decisions as to whether to treat that person as a genuine threat.

“Clearly in a dark environment with someone holding a weapon, that is a very, very split second decision, so they are putting themselves at extreme risk.”

MORE: Armed police make arrest after reports of gun being pointed in Norwich’s Prince of Wales Road

Supt Marshall stressed: “These sorts of incidents are really rare in Norfolk, so please don’t be in fear. The message is please be vigilant. We would much prefer a call to someone thinking they’ve seen someone with a gun and it turns out not to be, to someone thinking they’ve seen a gun and not phoning us.”

Nobody was hurt in Friday’s incident and Jason Payne, general manger of Mercy, said Norwich remained a safe place.

He said: “Our security are trained to spot trouble before it happens and we pride ourselves on being the safest club in the city, even though we have the highest footfall.

“As you can imagine, security is paramount at the moment with everything that’s happening in recent months around the world.”

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