Youths waving toy guns out of a car sparked an armed police and helicopter callout yesterday.
The incident in suburban Westgate Drive, near Hobsonville, began in the early afternoon. Eyewitnesses saw sheepish youths under arrest sitting on the kerb after their prank backfired.
"There were about four or five of them. They were all sitting in the gutter," local resident Ron Brown said. "It must have been a serious situation for the police to have the helicopter."
Locals were told at least one of the youngsters waved an imitation firearm out the window of a car.
It's backfired in their face, big time," one eyewitness said. She said not all the people in the car were arrested, but some were given a stern talking-to. However, the situation was resolved without violence, and it seemed even the arrested youths were allowed to go home.
The eyewitness said police told her the youths were waving toy pistols around. "They were all kids, young kids, five boys."
Another Westgate Drive resident said he saw the youths gradually come out of the car with hands on their heads. A local resident heard police cars "screaming down Hobsonville Road" before the incident.
Police northern communications inspector Earl McIntosh confirmed imitation firearms sparked the police response. He said armed police, not the Armed Offenders Squad, resolved the situation. "We identified them and spoke to them and got all the plastic firearms. They were dealt with appropriately."
Brown said he wouldn't be surprised if larrikinism was behind the incident. "We were all young once," he said.