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20 July 2016, 14:01 | Updated: 20 July 2016, 14:22
Police are warning about the dangers of using BB guns, after spate of fake firearms scares
West Midlands Police are warning of the dangers of using BB guns after a rise in false-alarm calls.
It comes after a spate of scares sparked by fake firearms.
Armed police have been called to 88 cases in the region recently when fake guns have been mistaken for the real thing.
Last month two men were handcuffed at gunpoint after a panicked member of the public reported seeing one of them enter an address in Bentley with a rifle and hearing shots fired.
A search of their car uncovered an Airsoft replica rifle that seasoned firearms officers said even up close appeared the genuine article.
Detective Inspector Jim Colclough said it’s important to raise awareness ahead of a predicted summer spike of replica gun-related emergency calls.
He said: "Some of these air weapons are very realistic… it’s difficult to tell them apart from the real thing. We always want people to report their concerns to us; the last thing we want is a blasé attitude and someone assuming it’s probably a BB gun.
"Our armed officers always have to treat callouts seriously, they can’t let their guard down and would treat the incident as a genuine threat until it becomes apparent they aren’t dealing with a live firearm.
"We’re reaching out to parents, teenagers and schools to hammer home the message that anyone carrying or using a BB gun in public could quickly find themselves at the centre of an armed response by firearms officers."