Armed police in Britain were tonight surrounding a snooker hall where a man reported to have a gun is holed up inside.
Earlier, dozens of officers including police armed with sub machine guns and backed by specialist dog teams rushed to the centre of Hucknall in Nottinghamshire and set up a cordon around the snooker hall, which is in Vine Terrace, just off the busy High Street.
Nottinghamshire Police said they were maintaining the cordon after receiving reports of “a man acting suspiciously” in the Spot On snooker club at about 2.40pm.
A man answering the snooker club’s telephone told reporters: “It don’t have nothing to do with you, does it?
“There’s nothing to say so you can stop ringing the phone.”
As the situation developed throughout the afternoon, paramedics wearing distinctive green body armour and helmets arrived on the scene while black-uniformed armed police kept a watchful eye on the snooker hall.
A force spokesman also said children and staff from nearby Beardall Street Primary School, which has an entrance off Vine Terrace and is just a few yards from the club, had been safely escorted from the premises.
Nearby businesses were told to lock their doors and keep people inside.
Tim Sperry, manager of the Byron Bingo Hall in the High Street, said his customers reported that the man in the snooker club had a gun.
“Basically, there’s a guy in the snooker hall with a gun and he’s said that the only way he’ll come out is shooting,” he said.
“So at the moment, there are about seven armed police stood outside the bingo hall in body armour, helmets and carrying sub machine guns and they’re telling us to stay inside and lock the doors.
“I’d say in total there are about 30 police officers here and they’ve got a police armoured car blocking off Duke Street.
“I’m in here with four staff and a customer.”
Mr Sperry said he was alerted to problems while returning from the town centre Post Office when he spotted a police officer in the middle of the High Street turning traffic away.
“We’re fine in here, although it’s a little bit surreal,” he said.
At the nearby branch of Haart estate agents, also in the High Street, staff there said they had been told by police to lock the doors and stay inside.
A police spokesman said: “Officers are continuing to maintain a cordon in the Hucknall area.
“It comes after reports of a man acting suspiciously in the snooker club in Vine Terrace at 2.40pm today.
“Vine Terrace and High Street currently remain closed as a precaution, and local residents who are unable to access their homes are advised to find alternative temporary accommodation or attend Hucknall Leisure Centre while the incident continues.
“Armed officers are at the scene and members of the public are advised to remain indoors and avoid the area wherever possible.”