Boy, 11, sparks firearms response in Burgess Hill

Firearms officers were called to reports of an armed man in a West Sussex town to find the suspect was a child with a BB gun.

Sussex Police were told a man with a gun had been seen at St Johns Park, Burgess Hill, on Monday afternoon.

Officers said response and firearms officers went to the scene and followed the suspect after he got in a car which went to Maple Drive.

During the stop and search, it was found the suspect was a boy, aged 11.

'Impossible to differentiate'

A police spokesman said: "A handgun was recovered which was later established to be a BB gun from the male, who was in fact an 11-year-old boy."

He said the gun had been retained by police.

The spokesman also said no-one was injured during the incident and the police dealt with the incident by advising the boy and his guardian.

"With all reports of firearms incidents, Sussex Police has a policy and procedure in the way it responds to them," he added.

"The response was appropriate for the information available and the circumstances given.

"This incident highlights the problems created when people are seen in possession of firearms in public.

"It is often impossible to differentiate between a real or imitation gun to the trained eye so in circumstances such as there the gun must be assumed to be genuine and treated as such."

When police received the alert, they were also told the man was wearing camouflaged clothing and a balaclava.

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