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Armed police arrest two men and seize firearm in Norwich city centre drama

PUBLISHED: 19:08 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:10 18 April 2018

Armed police in Bethel Street. Pic: Luke Powell.

Armed police in Bethel Street. Pic: Luke Powell.

Luke Powell

Armed police have arrested two men in their 20s and seized a firearm following an incident in Norwich city centre.

Police at the scene of an incident in St Giles Street. Pic Wayne Morgan.Police at the scene of an incident in St Giles Street. Pic Wayne Morgan.

The drama unfolded shortly after 5.10pm today (Tuesday, April 17) at Rigby Court, between Bethel Street and St Giles Street.

Specialist officers were deployed following concerns about the behaviour of two men in possession of a firearm inside a property.

Witnesses described hearing the men being ordered out of a building on Rigby Court “with their hands up”.

Police said an air rifle was seized and two men were arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

Armed police are at an incident at a property between St Giles Street and Bethel Street. Pic: Luke Powell.Armed police are at an incident at a property between St Giles Street and Bethel Street. Pic: Luke Powell.

A 39-year-old woman, who did not wish to be named, said people living in flats on Bethel Street were told to close their windows.

She said: “I just looked out of the window and thought ‘oh my god, guns’ because you don’t see that very often around Norwich.

“We heard them [police] giving demands for someone to come out with their hands up.

“The police saw us looking out and said to shut our windows and stand back.”

The woman said the two men who were arrested did not look like “typical” criminals.

Another witness, who lives opposite the scene, said two men had been shooting cans in their garden with an air rifle.

Small crowds gathered around the police cordon at St Giles Street and Bethel Street, as armed officers waited at either side of the Rigby Court alleyway.

Shortly before 7pm officers emerged from a property carrying a box and placed it in the back of a police vehicle.

Two men were then handcuffed and led away.

Inspector Lou Provart said: “Officers were called to an address in Rigby Court just after 5.10pm to reports a man had been seen inside the property with what was believed to be a firearm.

“Specialist officers were deployed to the scene and two men were arrested a short time later.

“The two men, aged in their 20s, have both been arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.”

Insp Provart stressed that air rifle owners need to be “responsible” and only use them in a safe environment.

He said: “Air weapons look very similar to firearms. You must be a responsible owner and use them only when in a safe environment where you give due regard to the safety of others around you.”

• Witnesses should call Norfolk Police on 101

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