ARMED police descended on a Gloucestershire home after residents brandished knives and ball-bearing guns during a forced eviction of a middle-aged woman.
A police officer was sent to assist bailiffs in a court-appointed eviction in Bramble Drive, Dursley on Monday but soon needed to call for back-up after people came out of the house bearing weapons.
While police said no offence was committed by the individuals, back-up was called for and in total 11 police officers in five different vehicles, including six armed police officers in three armed police response vehicles, arrived at the scene.
A police spokesman said the woman became aggressive and uncooperative and was joined by other residents at the property.
Because of her aggression the woman was initially handcuffed and then arrested for breaching the peace but was de-arrested once she agreed to co-operate and was allowed to leave the scene with a friend. Officers insisted that the woman was not sprayed with mace during the arrest, which had been claimed by an eye-witness.
A friend of the woman, who lives in the same housing association and did not want to be named, was unhappy with the approach taken by the police and claimed officers were laughing at her during the eviction.
“There was no need for it at all. She has lived in that house for 20 years and she had four kids living with her and one of them is quite ill,” she said.
“It was ridiculous, they didn’t need all those police there. She was very upset. They didn’t give her any time to take her things.”
However Sergeant Dan Wood refuted the claim that she was laughed at.
“At no point did any officers take the situation lightly and we fully understand that incidents like this can be extremely traumatic for the individual,” he said. “Our role in these types of incidents is to support the court-appointed bailiffs and to ensure the safety of the community as a whole.”
Another resident on the estate, who did not want to be named, was surprised by the size of the police presence. “You would have thought there was a murder or something,” he said. “One minute there was just a red bailiff’s car and then within a second the area was swamped with police, with sirens blaring. “What bothered me was thinking, who pays for that? Armed police vans and 10 to 15 police there, who pays for that?”
Raglan Housing regional director David Hall said they always sought to work with residents to resolve issues. He said: “Eviction is only ever considered as a last resort, however the problems with this particular tenant have been ongoing for a number of years. “We will continue to work with police and other authorities to provide quality homes and safe communities for our residents.”
Raglan Housing declined to comment on the reasons for the woman’s eviction.