A foot chase ended in dramatic fashion outside a Hastings bakery, after a fleeing man allegedly carrying an imitation firearm ran "straight into the arms" of waiting police.

Bystanders told Hawkes' Bay Today the man was seen running from one set of officers on Heretaunga St West just before noon on Friday.

Unfortunately for him, another set of officers converged on the man from the opposite direction and arrested him outside Hastings Bakery.

Another bystander said at least five officers arrested the man.

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"It was scary but it was over quickly. It just took one minute and they put him in a police car."

The incident unfolded after a suspected gun was sighted and reported to police.

A police spokesman said a 25 year-old man was charged with carrying an imitation firearm and a bail breach.

Four armed staff were involved in the arrest and an imitation gun was found on the man after a search.

The spokesman said the man was not thought to have been planning a robbery at nearby shops.