Police swoop as walking stick is mistaken for a gun

IPSWICH: An innocent man has today spoken of his shock after armed cops swooped on him, believing his walking stick was a gun.

Andy Berry, 29, was carrying the stick “like an umbrella” underneath his arm to give to a friend at the Co-Op store in Heath Road on Monday morning.

After handing over the stick Mr Berry says he was pounced on by five armed officers as he left the store. It was later revealed a member of the public had called police as they believed he was carrying a gun.

He said: “When I came out of the shop and was confronted by them I thought ‘what the hell is going on?’

“I thought maybe it was a case of mistaken identity. To see five police officers pointing guns at you is pretty scary – I just froze.

“They then examined the walking stick and when they saw it close up realised it clearly wasn’t a gun.

“The stick is black and I was carrying it horizontally like an umbrella – as opposed to walking with it - but even so it’s clearly not a gun!”

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Mr Berry, of Nacton Road, who previously needed the stick as he used to suffer problems with walking, said he could now see the funny side of the incident.

“I’ve told my friends, sister and parents about what happened and they’ve all been in stitches.

“After it happened I was pretty shaken, but now I find it amusing. I don’t blame the police – they were following orders – but it makes you wonder if people are getting paranoid.”

A spokesperson for Suffolk Police said: “We were given a call that a man was carrying a long barrelled gun and acted accordingly.

“The man came out of the store with a walking stick that looked like a weapon. His details were taken but no further action was necessary.”

n Have you experienced a similar scenario? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or tell us your story by sending an e-mail to us at:eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk