Armed police swoop on gun tattoo

US police armed with assault rifles have descended on a man's home after members of a tree removal crew he'd told to leave his property in Maine reported that he had a gun.

But it turns out the "gun" the tree crew had seen on Michael Smith was just a life-sized tattoo of a hand gun on his stomach.

Smith, who works nights, was asleep when the tree crew contracted by a utility to trim branches near power lines, woke him up at about 10am on Tuesday.

He went outside shirtless and yelled at the workers to leave. When he's not wearing a shirt, the tattoo looks like a gun tucked into his waistband.

Smith told a local newspaper the tattoo has never been a problem before.

Police didn't charge him.