Two revellers sparked a firearms alert in Birmingham city centre yesterday morning (5 Sept) when one produced a BB handgun during an argument.
West Midlands Police firearms officers were directed to Smallbrook Queensway just after 1am after security staff at a local nightclub reported a man having produced a pistol from his back pocket.
A description of the pair was passed to CCTV camera operators who monitored the suspects as they walked into Hurst Street.
Moments later they came face-to-face with armed police who found one of them concealing the imitation weapon.
They were arrested on suspicion of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence − despite one of them protesting “it’s only plastic”.
That prompted West Midlands Police’s Head of Firearms, Chief Inspector Dawn Miskella, to say: “It may not be a lethal firearm but people in the street this morning were fearful it was a genuine, live firing handgun and that their lives were in danger.
“It’s no defence to later claim ‘it’s not real’ because there can be no justification for carrying an imitation firearm around in public. Some imitation weapons are very accurate replicas and even our firearms specialists need to examine them up close to determine they’re not real.” A 19-year-old man and 17-year-old male − both from Birmingham − were arrested on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and have been released under investigation.