A man in England sparked an armed police seige after residents reported seeing him brandishing a firearm – when he was in fact carrying a sex toy, a court heard.

Ian Poulton, 33, was reported to police by panicked neighbours who dialled 999 claiming he had a pistol tucked into the waistband of his trousers.

Fifteen officers armed with machine guns, bullet proof vests and accompanied by a specialist dog unit swooped down on Poulton as he walked down a street in Telford, Shropshire, in May this year.

But after arresting Poulton they discovered the weapon he was carrying was in fact a dildo.

Poulton admitted possessing an item which had the appearance of a handgun with intent to cause fear of violence at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

Michael Sherwood-Smith, defending, told the court the item in question was a ‘sex aid’.

Poulton, from Wellington, Shropshire, also admitted assaulting Jose Luis Candelaria and causing him actual bodily harm on the same day.

He had also previously pleaded guilty to a charge of causing damage.

Residents in the Hadley area of Telford, where Poulton was arrested, expressed their shock after seeing armed ‘Robocops’ running down the street.

Speaking at the time, one neighbour said: ‘I think this is what you might call a classic cock-up. Nobody could believe what they were seeing when these armed Robocops turned up on the street from nowhere. Hadley can be a tough area but it’s not that bad, surely? Then we heard them arresting this guy and he was screaming to his girlfriend to hand over the dildo. It was unbelievable.’

Another neighbour added: ‘I suppose they have to take these things seriously. Everyone round here is glad that they did, but instead of brandishing a gun he was carrying a silver dildo.

‘Apparently it was some kind of domestic argument that got out of control. Someone called the cops, telling them he had a gun and they came down on us like a ton of bricks. The whole thing is hilarious.’

A spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said: ‘A member of the public reported to us that a man had been seen with a firearm in the Hall Gardens area of Hadley.

Any reports of firearm incidents are taken seriously and we send resources according to the anticipated threat level.’

Poulton was remanded in custody and the case was adjourned for sentencing on September 24.

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