Video shows what appear to be teenage boys face-down on the ground in front of armed police
A group of teenagers playing with gel-blasting toy guns in a town centre were laid down on their front by armed police after a passer-by mistakenly reported a real handgun.
Video of the incident shared on social media shows what appears to be teenagers shooting each other with gel blasters, a toy weapon that shoots soft gel balls, in Maidstone in Kent on Sunday.
The boys are seen with the colourful toys near shops, which appear to be closed, before police armed with rifles arrive at the scene.
Three teenage boys were arrested, police said, and the footage shows several lying face-down on the ground with officers standing over them.
“They’ve got kids lying on the floor,” one person is heard saying in the video. “This is disgusting.”
Kent Police confirmed they received a report of a firearm – a “black handgun” – at 6pm on Sunday and seized three fake black guns.
A spokesperson said: “Kent Police was called at 6pm on Sunday 4 June 2023, to a report from a member of the public that several people had been seen in an alleyway near Fremlin Walk, Maidstone who appeared to be in possession of a firearm, described as black handgun.
“Officers, including firearms officers, attended the area and three teenage boys were arrested in Week Street.
“A number of items were seized, including three black imitation handguns. The suspects were later bailed pending further investigation.”
Gel Blasters shoot small balls mostly made of water, which mean most should not leave a bruise or mark, according to manufacturers.
However, it is advised that anyone playing with the toy guns should wear safety goggles and long sleeves and should not be fired at close range.
One UK manufacturer warns on its website that Gel Blasters should “absolutely not” be taken out in public and “can resemble real firearms and must be treated as if they are a real firearm to the general public.”