Armed police raided a New Plymouth house yesterday after a man was seen brandishing a handgun, which was later discovered to be a replica.
The drama began about 2pm when a member of the public spotted the man with the firearm at a New Plymouth petrol station.
Police were quick to respond to the report and were soon setting up checkpoints around the city streets searching for the offender.
Courtenay St, between Hobson and Watson streets, was cordoned off by police as the AOS, armed with Bushmaster rifles and a battering ram, moved in and surrounded the house.
A man in his late 30s was arrested and has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
Sergeant Grant Sawtell said police had to treat any situation involving firearms seriously.
"A bystander had seen a pistol being brandished in a car," Mr Sawtell said.
"There is no indication at the start of an incident that it is not a real firearm."
Mr Sawtell said police did not have to force entry at the house and the occupants had been co-operative and compliant.
An imitation Western-style revolver was recovered from a car at the address.
Mr Sawtell said while the incident was not too sinister he called on people to show some common sense.
"It just reinforces the fact that you can't carry weapons around in your car. Understandably people will do the right thing and report it to police," he said.
"We will treat it seriously until it's proven otherwise."
The alleged offender was released on bail to appear in the New Plymouth District Court next week.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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