Armed police raid house after boy seen with toy gun

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The Independent Online

A solicitor has described being confronted with a scene reminiscent of "a Bruce Willis movie" when armed police officers stormed his home after his son was seen with a replica toy gun.

John Trimbos, 42, and his 15-year-old son, Olly, were handcuffed after officers smashed down the door of their flat in Belsize Park, north London. Mr Trimbos' wife, Lucy, and their youngest son, Felix, aged seven, were left traumatised by the raid.

The solicitor described hearing a loud bang as the door was broken down. He said: "I went out into the corridor to see what it was - it was like something out of a Bruce Willis movie. There was plaster dust everywhere. I could see armed police officers. They all had flak jackets, helmets and goggles and were pointing guns straight at me."

The family intend to make a formal complaint to the Police Complaints Commission about the action, which follows criticism of the Metropolitan Police for an anti-terrorist raid earlier this month at Forest Gate, east London, in which an Asian man was shot and injured before being released without charge.

The Metropolitan Police have defended Monday's raid, arguing that a credible witness, believed to be a former Army officer, reported seeing two youths at a window with what appeared to be an assault rife.

Mr Trimbos said his family had just finished their dinner when the firearms officers from Scotland Yard burst through their front door at about 8pm.

He and his eldest son were taken outside while police searched their flat, where they found a plastic, pellet-firing, toy gun. Scotland Yard later said the gun was a replica Heckler and Koch MP5 and that it was "not a toy".

Mr Trimbos described the experience as "utterly mortifying" and criticised the police for using "heavy-handed tactics".