College students filming a drama involving fake weapons in an underground car park found themselves surrounded by armed police this afternoon.
A member of staff from a nearby store at The Shires in Trowbridge became alarmed at the sight of a gun and dialled 999, and the Wiltshire Police rapid response team was scrambled.
Ironically, among the group of teenagers from Wiltshire College were the same students who helped police shoot a film about the dangers of carrying imitation weapons.
Last December film students from the college’s Trowbridge campus won a contest launched by Wiltshire’s Firearms and Knife Education (FAKE) team, and produced a warning video about carrying fake firearms.
Armed officers worked with the students on the project and appeared in the winning film, which was shot at the derelict Bowyers factory.
The college said the students heeded the lessons learned from the film and rang police to warn them that they would be filming today with replica guns, however, the message didn’t get through.
Two police cars containing armed response officers arrived at 1.25pm, and set up a cordon around the scene, barricading the entrance to the car park.
Wiltshire College spokesman Ed Dyer said: “There were a couple of students from this college filming down there, but they had phoned the police to tell them what was going on, and they obviously didn’t communicate that with their response teams.
“The amusing part is one of the students involved also made the film about the dangers of carrying fake firearms, so they were pretty surprised to see the police turning up.
“It sounds like a breakdown in communications with the police.”
A police spokesman said: “A member of the public thought they saw someone with a gun and called it in, but it was a group of college students filming with replica guns.
“They have been given words of advice about doing it in a public area.
“It may have been they told our local officers, who failed to pass on the information to the response teams.”
The video which they produced alongside the FAKE team has been used in schools and youth centres across the county.
A police spokesman said: “Wiltshire Police were called on 101 to inform us of the filming, but unfortunately this was not passed on to local officers or the response team.
"We are looking into this breakdown in communication.”
- If you were one of the students involved in the filming, please ring our reporter Adam Care to tell him your reaction on 01225 773645