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Kids were buying sweets: Police shouted 'get on the floor'

CHILDREN were told by armed police to get on the floor during a dramatic kidnap investigation.

The Metropolitan police concluded their longest operation of its kind with raids in Merseyside yesterday.

After the Merseyside rescue of a 42-year-old man who had been seized in London nine days ago, they claimed success in smashing a major criminal operation.

A semi-detached house in Lauren Close, Huyton, was one of the add-resses raided.

Today, people caught up in a second operation told how they heard shots fired in the street while being told to take cover by armed police.

Terrified youngsters dived to the ground in newsagent's Rimmer News as elite officers sealed off Rimmer Avenue, Bowring Park, Huyton, at about 3.45pm on Wednesday.

Police shouted "Get on the floor" and kept everyone inside while they dragged a man out of a van at gunpoint.

Customers dived to the floor as the man was put in handcuffs and led away.

A worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I heard a gunshot. About the same time a woman and her two children were leaving the shop and they jumped back in.

"Police told us to lock the doors and get down and at the time there were children inside buying sweets – it was the time of day when they're all out of school – so we all stayed in the shop. Everyone was really frightened."

Meanwhile, drinkers at the Bowring Park pub opposite were also told not to go onto the street.

One customer said: "We heard the shot, which sounded like a crack. A customer was leaving the pub and a policeman was shouting ‘get back inside'.

"The barmaid told the customers we had to stay inside and everyone was peeping through the blinds to see what was happening.

"At first the driver must have been lying in the car because we could see his shoes poking out. Then he got out onto the floor."

She said the man being arrested was in his late 30s or early 40s and looked smart and tanned. He was wearing a blue Fred Perry T-shirt and brown cotton trousers.

The man was put in handcuffs and driven away down the road, which was blocked at both ends.

She said: "A few of the police had big guns slung over their shoulders and there were 10 police altogether. They weren't dressed like normal police – they had white baseball caps on."

Meanwhile, residents in Lauren Close, Huyton, said police cars had been parked outside number 4 throughout Sunday and yesterday.

The modern semi-detached property is understood to be linked to the kidnap plot.

Neighbours said a quiet, smartly-dressed man, aged in his late 30s, lived at the £150,000 property in the cul-de-sac.

Nobody was at home at the address yesterday afternoon.

One neighbour said the person who lived there "kept himself to himself."

Source: ic Liverpool

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