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Police want witnesses to masked gunman incident

It happened on Cowick Street in Exeter

A masked gunman who scared children and went into a supermarket in St Thomas is in police custody this morning. 

Armed response teams were called to Tesco Express on Cowick Street at 3.30pm yesterday (Wednesday 15th November). 

A security guard at the supermarket had detained the man - who was carrying a replica gun. 

Officers say a 51 year old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear and remains in custody in Exeter. No-one was injured.

Police have conducted a search of a nearby home to gather evidence. 

Officers from Exeter CID are appealing for anyone who witnessed or possibly filmed the incident, or anyone who saw a male in a mask or carrying a replica rifle around the Cowick Street area to contact them.

Superintendent Matt Lawler, the local policing commander for Exeter, East and Mid Devon, said: “Understandably this will have caused some alarm to those members of the public who were in the area at the time, particularly children who we know will have left school around that time.

“We have been contacted by a number of witnesses so far, but would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened or anyone who may have seen the man around the area this afternoon. We are especially keen for anyone who may have captured any images on their phones or mobile devices to contact us.”

Officers are currently searching the man’s home, taking statements from witnesses, and examining local CCTV.

Supt Lawler added: “We would particularly like to thank all the staff at the store for their calm response and for the actions of the security staff who were able to keep the man there until officers arrived. The suspect is in custody at Heavitree Road police station, and his mental health is being taken into consideration. Given that someone has been arrested we would urge the public to avoid speculation, particularly on social media.”

Anyone who can assist police is asked to contact 101

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