Comic Relief fundraiser sparks mass manhunt in Norwich for fake rifle fancy dress costume

Norwich Police deployed its firearms units and a helicopter as part of the search

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The Independent Online

A Comic Relief charity fundraiser managed to spark a full-scale man hunt involving firearms units and a helicopter on Friday morning due to his costume, which involved wearing combat gear and carrying a fake rifle.

Armed police were called to the Whitefriars area of Norwich - near the city's law courts - at 8.30am, while a helicopter was deployed, after the man had been seen walking around the city.

Norfolk Police said it received a number of calls about the man but he did not seem to have carried out or threatened any attack. They later tracked him down and confirmed he was in fancy dress.

While no offence was committed, Norfolk police said the man was given strong words of advice regarding the consequences of his actions.

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks said: “If the police receive reports of what is believed to be a weapon, openly displayed in public places we need to react promptly to the information that we are given at the time.

”Public safety will always be our priority when dealing with such incidents. Imitation weapons should not be used, or left, in public view.“

He added that this is the second similar high profile incident to have taken place in the last month, and reminded people to think carefully about the consequences of carrying imitation weapons and how their general appearance could be misconstrued to members of the public.

Firearms units were dispatched to another part of Norwich less than a month ago after police received reports of a man carrying a blood-spattered sword. A student later came forward to admit he was responsible for the reports and that he had been shooting a horror film.