Armed police surround house after actor's rehearsal mistaken for gun attack

Police received reports that someone was pleading for their life

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The Independent Online

Armed police carrying automatic assault rifles and riot shields stormed the home of a group of West End actors after a neighbour thought a rehearsal for an emotional scene was real.

Around 15 officers surrounded the house in Hither Green in south east London at 11.45pm following reports someone had been seen with a gun.

Simon Gordon had been rehearsing a scene for an audition for the Carole King musical Beautiful. Gordon was rehearsing for the role of King's songwriter husband Gerry Goffin.

“Just had a knock at the door from the armed police," he posted on Facebook. "15 men with automatic assault rifles surrounding our house, plus a few casual snipers in the garden.

“Police had reports that there was a firearm at this address and that someone was pleading for their life. Turns out the neighbours overheard Joel Harper-Jackson and I rehearsing a scene for an audition tomorrow.”

“It was surreal,” he told the Evening Standard. “We got a really aggressive knock at the door. Joel opened it and there were five policemen with shields and massive guns.

“They had full riot gear on and helmets. They were asking how many people were in the house. They were aggressive to begin with. My heart was racing. I was ready for action, I thought Joel had opened the door to some dodgy character.

“We felt really guilty for some reason – even though we knew we hadn’t done anything.”

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The scene involved someone begging for his life, but Gordon said he had not been using an imitation gun.

“The scene doesn’t actually involve a gun. They had a report of someone pleading for their life but the scene is just about a bipolar man breaking down.

“One minute he’s talking about the last time he saw his kid then shouting at her and saying he needs to go up to the roof so he can breathe.

“It is quite a heated scene where the character breaks down. It’s all in American accents. Our window must have been open. I can see how that can be misconstrued.”

He joked on Twitter that if he’d been arrested his phone call would have been to his management agency to say he couldn’t make the audition:

He added: “I just hope I can recreate that performance in my audition. If nothing else it’s a story for Graham Norton’s couch.”

A Met police spokesman said: “We called at 11.25pm following reports of a firearms incident. Armed officers attended. It transpired that there was no offence and no arrests were made. No firearm was found.”