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back to article Armed cops in Lara Croft bust action

Those of you thinking of firing up Tomb Raider this morning should be aware that Lara Croft is currently unavailable - a guest of Manchester's Boys in Blue after armed officers cornered the gun-toting minx in a suburban living room. The house's owner - computer shop owner David Williams - phoned police at around midnight to …

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How can he be bailed

How can he be bailed for an offense he hasn't committed, which is the result of police stupidity regarding a plastic gun attached to a mannequin.

You can't prosecute someone for firearms offenses for having a plastic gun, or a cap gun so why has this guy been bailed? He should have been released without charge, with an apology.

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My guns name is Lara

So i'm guessing the reason he didnt answer the door is because he was polishing his loaded weapon?!?!?

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Actually...

...it was returned to its owner yesterday.

Northwest Tonight, the local BBC evening news show (usually presented by Gordon "Krypton Factor" Burns) covered the incident and the replica went to a beauty salon for a manicure...the end of the mannikin's fingers got damaged in the kerfuffle.

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Anonymous Coward

Sheesh...

Boys in Blue? more like Boys in Straight Jackets.

Its ridiculous to charge this guy, what the f@#! are they thinking of. I hope he's sues to makes a 6 digit sum and claims the scalp of the person whos responsibility for that decision!

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Anonymous Coward

How many points on the quota was this arrest?

Who says the Police don't have a sense of humour. They realise they made a mistake and departed with a wry grin on their lips.

What's that, they didn't. Rather than lose face they arrest him on trumped up 'firearms charge'. Still, he should count himself lucky; looking at the photos nobody is going to think he is brazilian!!

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Anonymous Coward

How sad...

PC Richard Gray has been dead less than two weeks and already it's fair game to ridicule the GMP officers who decided to err on the safe side by calling for armed back-up.

However badly GMP might have handled the incident after the true facts were established, why does anyone think it's funny that the officers responding initially didn't want to have their brains blown out? They are real people with real partners and families. They do a job that's difficult enough without being criticised by armchair experts exercising their 20/20 hindsight before engaging brains.

No doubt the same critics would be equally scathing if a colleague or friend was shot by a gunman because officers didn't properly deal with a similar set of circumstances, but where the suspected handgun turned out to be real (readily available in Manchester for under £100 if you know where to ask).

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Anonymous Coward

Plastik

"You can't prosecute someone for firearms offenses for having a plastic gun etc"

I'm not sure that's the case. As far as I know you can be prosecuted under firearms legislation for pop guns, air rifles, plastic toys etc. I believe the law is written broadly.

I know that in the case of airguns it is theoretically possible for you to be prosecuted if you fire your airgun within fifty yards of a public road, even if you are in your living room firing at the television, if in doing so you alarm a passing motorist. I believe it is also the case that, if a member of the public sees a plastic gun through your bedroom window, and becomes upset, you are liable for prosecution.

But don't quote me on this; the law is very long and complicated and imprecise, unlike computers.

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How sad indeed...

That the general El -Reg reader seems to be incapable of reading properly.

Given that nobody realised the "gunman" wasn't moving, and was EXTREMELY shapely, and perhaps in a particularly familiar pose, I suppose they did the right thing. Up until they entered the house. Holding the guy, then charging him, has nothing to do with anyone protecting themselves. It's wrongful arrest, and should result in police officers losing their jobs.

However, they don't get that punishment even for killing innocents, so I guess that's out of the question.

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Silver badge

Beyond belief

As far as I can see no offence whatsoever was committed by Mr Williams, yet he was arrested and detained for 13 hours, to be bailed on firearms charges. This is disgusting, what's more it is frightening. This is typical of the arrogance of law enforcement in this country. Perhaps our wonderful police force will be sending in SWAT teams to arrest any owners of a fully kitted out "action man" next. Pathetic!

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Guy

point lost somewhere

the fun of this story is that they actually charged him with firearm offences, rather than admit they had made a mistake and retire with good grace. Not the fact that they followed procedure in what might have been a dangerous situation. On that side they made a good call in protecting their own and the public's safety

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RE: How Sad

Nobody here is ridiculing the police for their initial actions, they are being slated for the actions after they realised that it was a pretend gun attached to a promotional item.

The police are becoming far too severe when it comes to dealing with firearms. Yes, I can understand that when responding to a call in London or inner city Manchester, err on the side of caution, I would. But recently, armed police were called to two blokes sitting in a field shooting pigeons in a hide!

Let’s hope that lessons can be learnt from this mistake and that they can deal with incidents more professionally in the future.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not sad

No one has said that the initial over-reaction was bad, given the recent events it's understandable, if unfortunate. If you took your head out your backsie for 30 seconds you'd see that all anyone is commeting on is why on earth this guy was arrested... on a firearms charge.

Now, if he does have an additional, unlicensed, firearm in the house that's one thing but if he was arrested purely for having a Lara Croft doll then GMP have obviously been sniffing the Columbian Marching Powder.

Public Order offence? maybe... but firearms? Sheeesh!

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How sad... you missed the point mate

It's not the cautious actions of the police when they thought there was a gunman in the house that is being ridiculed here. Its the stupidity of their actions once they realised that the 'gunman' was just a mannequin.

Mind you, it doesn't say anywhere that the guy didn't actually have a gun in his house...

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High horse?

No-one here, or in the orginal article, is making fun of the officers' caution. Read it again if you don't believe me. They're making fun of the over-reaction *after* the truth of the matter had come out.

BTW, you Brits are *so* lucky that you live in a country where the death of a cop two weeks ago is news. In my little hell-hole (South Africa) we lose 1 or 2 "boys in blue" every day! And when they're not being murdered, they're committing suicide due to the unholy stress. This is all so common it's never even mentioned in the press. We're only given the totals once a year.

So while you mourn PC Richard Gray, spare a thought for the thousands of nameless, faceless LEOs all over the world that will die this year, and be grateful that the UK's contibution to that total will be so small.

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Fair point but...

Yes of course they acted reasonably in calling for armed response, your point about them having families at home etc is fair enough. The unreasonable thing was them arresting the guy. That's when it turns from funny story, to criticism of the police.

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Anonymous Coward

Now on the DNA Database too

As he has been arrested, his DNA is now also on the DNA database forever.

That, even more than the stupidity of continuing to arrest and charge the guy, is, IMHO, the key and worst factor here.

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How about this one then?

When I was a kid, we were playing in an abandoned factory (the walls fell down so we didn't have to break in) with LRP weapons (Homemade rubber swords, a bow made out of curtain rail, etc, etc).

Suddenly, A helicopter flies over, two meatwagons pull up, K9 units, the lot.

We are all arrested, even when they realise it is just kids playing. They bundle us into the back of the van, and start driving to the police station. They drove past most of our houses, and we were asking them to stop and tell our parents they were taking us to the station. They refused (We were MINORS !! One of us was only 12! ).

Once we got to the station, they then and only then called our parents, who came down and demanded a written apology from the cheif commisioner on the spot there and then. They got it.

They STILL tried to charge us with breaking and entering, despite the fact that there was a 20 foot gap in the wall. When that didn't stick, they tried to charge us with criminal damage for breaking the windows. 90% of the windows had been already broken for years, we did no damage whatsoever, and the building was waiting to be demolished anyway.

And police wonder why they don't get respect...

Funny thing was, two of my mates managed to get away by jumping out a back window and onto a bus.

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Herts Police do it better, it seems.

Ah I had the same problem - I had my full sized Lara in an upstairs window looking down on the front garden and eventually had a visit from 2 nice young chaps from the Herts Constabulary asking me nicely to point her gun the other way. They were worried that she would scare away too many drugged up ASBO kids trying to steal my car. Mind you, this way I can shoot them without them being warned. These things work better in the countryside.

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He should be glad

At least he wasn't carrying a table leg...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Stanley

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lol

more examples of the retarded state of our legal system, the fact that he filed a complaint about getting nuisance calls and is now charged with firearms offences just sums up the discusting state of justice in Britain.

So porn, lolicon and not answering your door will all land you in jail. It's only a small step to violent computer games and movies getting you arrested too.

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it's somewhat comforting

to find out that police are obstinate moronic dickheads everywhere, not just here in the states

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A difficult job, very badly.

One in the eye for "If you're innocent, you have nothing to fear" crowd there. Any one who still believes this obviously hasn't had to deal with the police recently.

Incidents like this, and I personally am aware of many, simply make the police force look like a bungling gang of humourless facists, and from recent experience I am sorry to say that is certainly becoming the case in most metropolitam areas.

Not so long ago, I was very nearly arrested when I was attacked by some pikey little scumbag on the way to the supermarket, and last week, a friend of mine was arrested by an off duty (and drunk) police officer in Tesco for "shoplifting", because he had been unable to procure a basket, and had carried his goods to the til by hand instead.

Come one guys, we know you have a very difficult job, but for f**ks sake, stop acting like such a pack of t**ts, then perhaps people will stop throwing stones at you.

As for the officers involved in the arrest and charging of a man they were supposed to be helping, they should be subject to some very harsh re education (disciplinary action is obviously to much to ask for, since as has already pointed out, it's OK to execute innocent civillians in the streets without such action being taken).

This kind of response, and subsequent behaviour is utterly disproportionate to the situation, in much the same way as "crash squads" of riot-gear clad officers in vans breaking and entering at 4am to arrest some tuppeny fence with a few DVD players under his bed, now a frequent occurence, and an utter waste of resources.

Police state ? Already here.

Oh, and I for one *would* criticise the response of the officers on the scene, they evidently made a thoroughly shoddy job of assesing the situation and the inherent risks involved. (I grew up in Manchester, at the height of the last forearms spree, so cries of 'you don't understand because...' fall upon my deaf ears).

While the loss of an officer to a firearms incident is unfortunate, it is no excuse for shoddy police work, and nor should it be accepted as such, shame on those of you who buy this cr*p.

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the point

"PC Richard Gray has been dead less than two weeks and already it's fair game to ridicule the GMP officers who decided to err on the safe side by calling for armed back-up."

We're not ridiculing them for that, we're ridiculing them for ARRESTING this guy on firearms charges even after it became clear that there were absolutely no firearms present, and the only actual "gun" was part of a Lara Croft replica which he stored in his own home.

They erred on the side of caution, fine, it's understandable. They deliberately arrest an innocent person for a crime that never happened, that's completely wrong, shame on the police and all those who support this arrest.

"As far as I know you can be prosecuted under firearms legislation for pop guns, air rifles, plastic toys etc. I believe the law is written broadly."

Perhaps if you carry them in public, but you can't possibly be prosecuted for keeping a replica in your own home.

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This would of never happened in America

Nope the would of shot the bloak in the back, planted a gun on him and called it a day, and Gonzelas would of said its another victory for us against terrorist

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Title

Unless they're rather more menacing than just 'nuisance' calls, it seems odd to call the police about unwanted phone calls at all, rather than BT, let alone call them at midnight.

Some people might think it's odd that the police actually turned up.

If the calls had been at all threatening, it might be more understandable that a silhouette could make the police concerned for the guy's safety.

Still, even if they wondered a little if the thing had been set up ('Silhouette' implies at least some 'unlucky' positioning regarding the model and lighting. Assuming he was given enough time, if he was expecting the police, why didn't he answer the door?), firearms charges do seem a little odd.

The smart thing to do would have been to hoik his phone records to see if the calls actually happened and then carry on from there.

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in fear

well about a month ago I was sleeping on a mate's couch when I heard banging at the door. It got louder and louder and louder. I checked my watch - the time was 06.20. They finally got some kind of battering ram out and started to break down the door. At this point my mate's housemate came down and opened the door. At least 15 police officers stormed into the house.

Long story short, they were after a gun. After herding us into the front room, they turned over every room in the house. When they had just about finished, the one in charge spotted my mate's BB gun on the front room sideboard, next to a large bottle of plastic BBs. You should have seen his eyes light up! Had it away in no time. His inferior officers were told to remove the BBs and gun. Cue a 15 minute discussion over which type of box to put it in as they could not decide if it was evidence or confiscated property.

At the same time, their superior officer was giving us a lecture about how someone had reported a firearm, we must have been playing with the gun outside, and how it was a crime to have a BB gun if someone sees it "in fear". Insinuating we were in line to be accused of an offence, he tried to persuade us to sign the gun over to him, we refused as it belonged to my mate (who was at work) and also as I knew it could not have been used as it had been broken for months. So, they just took it, and left a note for my mate.

We found out later that his landlord had arranged for the gasman to call. This gasman must have been blind as he saw a plastic gun with BBs, and reported it to the police as a dangerous firearm. The police refused to return the gun, claiming the law was on their side and was in the process of being changed anyway. Hopefully that's my first and last dawn raid experience, but I dunno, there seem to be so many more crimes these days!

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Anonymous Coward

US

Wow, this kind of thing makes me glad that I live in the U.S. ... Hold on, somebody is knocking on my door .....

+++

<EOL>

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Anonymous Coward

some more great examples .......

This is a quote from a recent Sunday Times edition;

"The Met, as ever, looks a good bet for top place with their wonderful prosecution of two Tube workers who were wrongly accused of biting the heads off some black jelly babies in a racially intimidating manner. It took 2 years and cost £250,000 to prosecute Carlo Rozza and Victor Cooney. It took the jury 58 minutes to realise that the charges were fantastically stupid.

However, some experts suspect that Central Scotland police might snatch this year’s title with their brilliant but aborted prosecution of Ronnie Hutton, a mechanic from Stirling, for “revving his car in a racist manner”. Thames Valley police, meanwhile, are expected to receive lifetime achievement awards for arresting a chap who suggested that a police horse might be “gay”, thus — according to the boys in blue — causing offence and distress to “both the police officer and his horse”. "

What on earth is happening to the Police, are they dumb or dumber ??>

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Good call Stuart

Thank you!

How sad indeed. Apparently you are as thin skinned and over sensitive to a bit of fun as the Police.

As Stuart said, people are taking the piss because instead of stopping at the point where we'd all maybe smile, but understand the situation - after all no one was hurt, no harm no foul - they then decided to make idiots of themselves by arresting a totally innocent individual.

13hrs in a police station and a possible court appearance for having a toy gun in your living room.. I don't see why they should be regarded as anything but muppets.

You can be prosecuted for owning a toy gun - but usually this involves taking the toy to a bank and pretending to hold it up - or threatening someone in a manner that gives the impression it's real.

What you're suggesting is it's perfectly understandable for the police to round up kids playing in their own homes and sticking them in juvenile detention for the night, because they had a cap gun or a star wars pistol.

This is exactly why muppet policemen like these are held in such low regard. Being thin skinned they thought they looked foolish and decided to overreact.

Hope the guy makes a decent sum of compensation as a deterrent to more stupidity.

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This sort of thing happens all the time

I blogged about this story <a href="http://blog.ownyourphone.com/?p=11">here</a>. This sort of thing happens all the time. He's fortunate they just kept him for 13 hours.

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Police Procedures

My guess is, The officers have to fill out multiple forms any time they call in the heavy squad, and one of the little boxes they have to fill in is "what charges resulted from this exercise".

Putting in "none" would probably cost the officer their next pay rise, if the option even exists on the form, so the complainant is sacrificed to the gods of bureaucratic correctness.

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Anonymous Coward

It's worse in Chicago...

Here, they just shoot you. If you don't have a gun or something that looks like a gun, they'll gladly provide one for you, and place it into your lifeless hand.

I worked for some years for an attorney who specialized in police misconduct. Incidents such as this are commonplace - quite the norm. If a policeman rams his car into yours, you'll get the ticket. If he beats you, you'll be arrested for resisting arrest, if you're lucky enough to survive the experience. The police have no oversight. "quis custodiet ipsos custodes", as the saying goes - who watches the watchers? The answer, unfortunately, is that no one does, and the custodians are running wild as a result.

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Anonymous Coward

In these circumstances, sending in armed police is not "cautious"

It's reckless. It could easily have resulted in someone getting killed or seriously injured.

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Anonymous Coward

Who is to blame?

Shouldn't it have been Lara Croft who was charged with illegal gun possession? Rise of the Mannequins...

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Police? Turn up?

A while back, whilst returning from work, some little fucker shot at me with an air rifle (he WAS busy shooting at trains, but decided I'd make a better target). I phoned the police, and got precisely zero interest. "We'll send a car round in a couple of hours". If you've ever read PC Copperfields blog, he once said the best way to get the police to your house is to call them up and say you've just shot a burglar.

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To be a policeman ...

... the only pre-requisite is, apparently, that you are a cretin. Not that we needed any more proof of that, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Jawbone and the Air Rifle

""As far as I know you can be prosecuted under firearms legislation for pop guns, air rifles, plastic toys etc. I believe the law is written broadly."

Perhaps if you carry them in public, but you can't possibly be prosecuted for keeping a replica in your own home.""

But you can, if someone sees it through the window and calls the police, or if e.g. a visiting electrician spots it whilst doing his job. I imagine that, if you know of a neighbour who owns a replica gun, even if he keeps it hidden away, you could easily engineer misery for him by telephoning the police and claiming that he has been brandishing it near a window.

This is why, when I pose in front of the mirror with my replica Bren gun, I make very sure that no-one can see me - and this is notwithstanding the "other thing".

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Anonymous Coward

Seee

Computer games DO cause violence.

Mother was right.

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