Five mile police chase over toy gun

Five mile police chase over toy gun
By TOM KELLY, Daily Mail

9th June 2006

Like most little boys, Alfie Marshall loves playing cowboys and Indians with his friends.

But when the five-year-old left his toy gun in the back of his father's car, the game suddenly took a very serious turn.

After being alerted by an alarmed passer by, a police helicopter followed the car for five miles before a team of armed officers swooped on his parents.

With real guns aimed at their heads, they were ordered to put their hands up and slowly get out before being frisked.

The officers only began to relax when Alfie's father, Ray Marshall, was allowed to explain that the 'deadly weapon' they were hunting for was actually a toy that he had bought his son for 3.

Mr Marshall, 41, said: "It was an extraordinary experience. There were police swarming everywhere. There were at least a dozen officers who blocked the road off and had dogs.

"Three of them dressed in flak jackets had big guns looking like Kalashnikovs pointing right at our heads as they shouted instructions to us.

"We were just outside a bank and my wife thought it must have been robbed and they believed we were the crooks trying to get away.

"It was wasn't until they asked me what was in the back of my car that I twigged what had happened and realised there had been a big confusion."

To make things worse for Mr Marshall and his 31-year-old wife, Natalie, two of their friends passed by as the operation was underway and saw the pair pressed up against the car with their legs spread as they were searched.

Mr Marshall, from Woodford Green in Essex, said: "It was all very embarrassing. One of the friends even went up to an officer to tell him that we were a very nice couple."

He had bought the toy as a present for Alfie and his eight-year-old brother Maxwell a few weeks earlier after they had watched a John Wayne Western film together.

He said: "It was a normal toy cowboy pistol and looked nothing like a real gun.

"But it was perfect for my sons, who are typical young boys who love playing cowboys and Indians."

The problems started when Mr Marshall, who runs a building company, dropped his sons off at school on Wednesday morning.

The boys had been playing with the toy gun on the journey and left it on the back seat as they rushed off to class.

Their father then stopped to work out at a nearby gym, where a passer by spotted it in the parked car and called the police.

Local officers requested a police helicopter that monitored Mr Marshall after he left the gym and drove five miles to a tyre centre in South Woodford, East London, where he dropped the car off.

His wife picked him up from the centre in her car, and moments later police descended on them.

Officers later cordoned off the tyre shop and removed the toy gun from Mr Marshall's car and took it off to be destroyed.

But despite his ordeal, Mr Marshall had nothing but praise for the police.

He said: "Some might say its an over reaction, but they could only act on the tip they had been given.

"If someone says 'there's a gun in that car' they can't afford to take any chances.

"The police were very professional, and I shook the hand of the officer who led the operation when it was all over.

"One thing that I did learn is that when someone points a gun at you, you do exactly what they say."

Scotland Yard said officers responded appropriately after a member of public said that they had seen what they believed to be a small barrelled gun in the front of a car.
Good. Maybe these "nice folks" will now buy their kids more appropriate toys.

Yea, we all played pretend war as kids, but now, the fake weapons are too real. Let the kid have a stick to pretend to fire, if he really must.

Had these people been in the states, maybe the conseqences would have been more tragic. Toy guns have led to the death of young kids in the US. That is why they have laws that require the gun to be easily distinguished. Cops have shot and killed people for holding a fake gun. Of course, this law backfires as now criminals paint their real guns to look fake so they wont be shot at. How about we just dont bring our kids up with the idea that bigger and better and more realistic weapons are not productive in the development of young minds.

While toy guns (like the real weapons) are great money makers for the producers, they cost society. Last year alone in Canada, 3000 toy weapons were seized in Canadian airports, at great cost and delay.

Oh, and someone should tell those "nice folks" that playing "Cowboys and Indians" is no longer politically correct.

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