Ipswich: Suffolk police waited A MONTH to bash into Chatsworth Crescent home to search for firearms

IPSWICH: A builder and his wife were left horrified after police broke into their house to look for reported firearms – almost a MONTH after they obtained the court order allowing them to carry out the search.

Adam and Lynette Harvey were spending the day in Ely watching a friend compete in motocross racing when neighbours phoned to say officers had broken down their door on Sunday, March 20.

Suffolk police had received information that there were firearms at the property and believed it was necessary to search their home in Ipswich, Mr Harvey said. No firearms were found.

The Chatsworth Crescent resident said he accepts they had to investigate this claim but “can’t believe” it took almost a month to do this.

Suffolk police confirmed they were granted the court order to legally search the property from South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on February 22. Mr Harvey, 47, said: “I’m so annoyed. What if I did have a stash of firearms?

“Imagine what could have happened if a person did and intended to use them. I don’t know how they could wait this long to investigate something like this.”

He added: “One month after receiving the court order is a bit too slow to react if they were genuinely concerned.”

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Officers arrived at the property at 11am on Sunday and waited for an hour before searching the Harveys’ garden.

Then, after trying to contact the couple they forced entry into the house through the back door at 3pm.

Mr and Mrs Harvey returned home 15 minutes later.

Mr Harvey said the only damage to his property was that the door had been “smashed up”.

“The house wasn’t in too much of a state when my wife and I got home,” he said. “They had searched everywhere. In the loft, under the beds – they were very thorough.

“My wife was quite upset and angry because they had gone through her drawers. It’s just an invasion of privacy.”

He added: “I’m so embarrassed. I’ve never been in trouble with the police before and I’ve got nothing to hide.”

A police spokesman said: “We have the ability to execute a search warrant within three months of it being issued by a magistrate.

“We had information relating to a possible firearm at the house.

“We tried to cause minimal damage to the property and will be speaking to the owner about this. We did not recover any firearm.”

n Do you think police should have acted sooner? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.