A MAN with an air rifle out shooting birds sparked a full-scale response from armed police in the normally quiet village of Westwood this morning.

Through traffic was blocked from entering the village and police sent up a drone to keep an eye on proceedings as officers searched for the man.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “We were called by a member of the public just before 7am this morning to a report of a man walking in Lower Westwood, Bradford on Avon, carrying what was believed to be a rifle.

“Armed response officers are currently at the scene and searches are ongoing.”

In a later update, the spokesman added: “An air rifle has been located and units are now being stood down.

“This is not believed to have been a suspicious incident and there is no risk to the public. Enquiries will continue. We believe someone had been out shooting birds.”

The incident blocked early morning commuter traffic through Westwood from Freshford and the Frome Road. People going to work and local teenagers waiting for a bus to St Laurence School were affected.

Police later stopped traffic from using the Avoncliff road to Jones’s Hill in Bradford on Avon because it became so congested with drivers trying to find a route through the village.

Just after 9am, the armed response unit was stood down and a man was understood to be helping police with their enquiries.