Police swooped on Yaxham village in Norfolk, England, after reports of “gunshots and the sound of children screaming” — to find it a party of small children playing with Nerf guns.
Eight-year-old Oliver Green was celebrating his birthday with friends when officers arrived at the address and told his mother they had been called “following reports of machine guns going off in my garden”, according to MailOnline.
“I told them that there were some guns, but they are only Nerf guns… One officer said to the children ‘who is the birthday boy?’ and my son very cautiously stepped forward and said ‘I am the birthday boy officer, but I am not sure what I have done wrong’.”
The incident follows just weeks after law enforcement dashed to another supposed gun crime incident in the quiet village, which turned out to be a Second World War re-enactment.
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Oliver’s mother, Lisa, said the officers “were brilliant with the kids” once the situation became clear, and “the kids loved it”.
British police have not always adopted such an understanding approach, however, with a group of children “playing a cops and robbers-type game” with a toy gun near their homes being arrested for a public order offence by five officers and having DNA samples and fingerprints taken in 2002, shortly after one of the periodic tightenings of Britain’s infamously draconian gun controls.
The often heavy-handed approach to such incidents does not appear to be yielding many positive results, however, with the use of stop and search against less pliable criminal suspects having fallen following racism accusations, and violent crime rising uncontrollably.
Firearm Discharged up to Every Six Hours in Gun-Free London https://t.co/CFnu5KcdtU
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British citizens are not permitted to bear real firearms or keep them at home for self-defence purposes anywhere but Northern Ireland, where a relatively small number of current and former police officers, members of the Armed Forces, and others may own Personal Protection Weapons.
The criminal fraternity seems unimpressed by these prohibitions, however, with crime involving firearms — particularly handguns, which are subject to an almost total ban even for licenced firearms certificate holders — having risen substantially, particularly in London.