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Armed police storm Tewkesbury home after spotting toy mortar 'weapon' on Facebook picture

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 13, 2013

Tewkesbury man Ian Driscoll with his toys

Comments (11)

ARMED police who stormed a Tewkesbury home looking for a weapon were shocked to discover their efforts had all been over a toy.

Resident Ian Driscoll was stunned when five policemen, including two who were armed, turned up on his doorstep with a search warrant.

Acting on intelligence, they demanded to see a mortar tube they believed he had in his home in Margaret Road, Prior’s Park. But their terror alert tip off proved to be badly wrong. The mortar tube was actually a toy which formed part of a picture Ian had posted on his Facebook page.

Ian said that when the police came to his home, he had been stunned. At first he had no idea what they were talking about. “I was shocked and stunned. It was just mad,” he said.

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“Five officers turned up in unmarked police cars. They flashed the search warrant in my face and said it was lucky I was in so they didn’t have to break my door down.

“Everyone has been laughing about it and I think it’s funny. It’s so stupid.”

The 43-year-old did not even have the toy as it belonged to a friend, who had it in his home in the town centre.

Ian has a German Shepherd that he takes for walks and, while at his friend’s house, he noticed he had two toy figures which looked a bit like him and his dog. So he took a photograph of them and, as a bit of fun, made it his profile picture on his Facebook page.

But in the corner of the image was the mortar tube toy and it was seemingly this that led to the police raid. Ian said anyone looking at the picture carefully could see that the mortar tube had to be a toy and not real.

The scale of it, he said, was clear because there was skirting board and a remote control in the background.

Gloucestershire police spokeswoman Alexa Collicott said: “The information was given to us in good faith and we acted with good intentions. We are sure that the community would rather we acted quickly on information given to us of this nature, in case it had turned out to be a weapon.

“The officers attending were hugely relieved that it wasn’t anything more sinister and we would much rather have a result like this than to put the public in harms way by not taking action.”

She added that the two armed officers only attended in case their technical armoury knowledge was needed.

Ian’s friend, Stephen Hall, said he felt the police were right to check out the information they had been given.

After they visited him too, he said: “I took the toy down the stairs to show them. They took it in good humour and said they’d had to check it out. They were just doing their job.”

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  • disco2disco  |  February 14 2013, 6:57PM

    He's right, the doll does look a bit like him!

    |   4
  • CBCschmucks  |  February 14 2013, 9:07AM

    He should be grateful the cops did not beat, taser and shoot him and then tell lies about what happened. Where has common sense gone? Good job it wasn't the action man tank!

  • BishopsCleeve  |  February 14 2013, 8:01AM

    This is proof how scared we are of terrorists.

    |   5
  • tontonwolf  |  February 13 2013, 9:25PM

    What is sad is that these "authorities" couldn't recognize what was CLEARLY not a real mortar tube in the facebook picture (unless they're making 20mm mortars). It sounds like an example of "The Peter Principle" in action (Dr. Lawrence J. Peter, Raymond Hull, 1969, William Morrow and Company, ISBN0-688-27544-3, OCLC 1038496) Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.

  • raidermanuk  |  February 13 2013, 11:42AM

    buckmcfate "me for still coming to this terrible site" Something we are all guilty of but a small number keep on doing it!

    |   4
  • buckmcfate  |  February 13 2013, 10:45AM

    armed police 'storm'...oh dear TiG. No marked cars, armed police for id purposes only, and entry by knocking politely on the door. All in the story, under heading designed to completely misrepresent what happened. I don't know who is sadder, you for the desperate journalism, or me for still coming to this terrible site.

    |   16
  • geraint2010  |  February 13 2013, 10:21AM

    And the moral is: act you age and take care what you post on social network sites.

    |   -31
  • thomas1996  |  February 13 2013, 9:45AM

    I hope Ian doesn't pull his jeans up like the doll, ouch!!!!!!!!!!

    |   13
  • valhalla2010  |  February 13 2013, 9:02AM

    I saw the headline and had visions of Princes Gate in 1980, blokes dressed in black abseiling down and blowing windows open, frogmen armed with sten guns emerging from the river etc; imagine how let down I felt when I read the story and it seems that the police merely turned up to execute a search warrant!!! Good old TiG, please try to squeeze in the expression "motorway mercy dash" soon, I'm sure you'll manage it.

    |   16
  • raidermanuk  |  February 13 2013, 8:36AM

    For the "intelligence" go here: http://tinyurl.com/ces5ed5 Although it may not be the original picture (but probably is).

    |   9