Armed cops raided hotel after staff mistakenly thought paintball team’s guns were real

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GUN cops swooped on a paintball team after a hotel worker mistook their toy guns for automatic weapons.

Pals Henry Byer, 23, Jay Webb and Tony Fullerton, both 22, feared for their lives as 14 officers burst in armed with G36C assault rifles.

SWNS:South West News Service

The three friends were paid an unexpected visit by the armed police at their hotel[/caption]

During the'sting', South Yorkshire Police officers laid out all the guns on a bed and posted a snap of them on Twitter
During the ‘sting’, South Yorkshire Police officers laid out all the guns on a bed and posted a snap of them on Twitter

They were ordered out of their £90 room on Saturday after the harmless paintball markers in their cases were spotted by staff.

Roof tiler Henry, of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, told how they returned to the Carlton Park Hotel in Rotherham, South Yorks., after dinner when the drama unfolded.

He told The Sun: “I was getting into bed when there was a loud knock at the door. Jay peered through the peephole and didn’t see anyone.

“Thinking perhaps it was someone mucking about Jay opened the door to see the barrel of a G36C assault rifle and an armed police unit stacked on either side of the door.

“One of the armed response offers grabbed Jay and pulled him outside into the corridor.

Talk about being traumatised. During the raid several guests were told to return to their rooms without any explanation.


Henry Byer

“He was instructed to put his hands on the wall whilst another officer pointed a rifle and my other friend Tony who instantly put his hands up.

“I also put my hands up but was awkwardly sat in the bed in my pants.”

The trio, who travelled from Norfolk for a paintballing event, explained the mix-up and were released without charge once police realised the replicas posed no danger.

But they were still booted out of the Carlton by a manager and forced to stay with friends.

Henry added: “It ruined the holiday. We’d already informed the receptionist we were staying for a paintball weekend so there was absolutely no need for this insanity.

“I’ve never been so disgusted with a hotel in my life. Talk about being traumatised. During the raid several guests were told to return to their rooms without any explanation.

“Some were absolutely terrified out of their wits.”

14 OFFICERS ON THE SCENE

Henry, window filmer Jay and car mechanic Tony said their guns were kept inside cases in their locked hotel room.

They had brought them for a paintball event called Return to Zavod in Sheffield, which they competed in a day after the raid.

The police were called when they went out for a meal in Rotheram shortly after checking in at about 2.30pm on March 2.

Officers waited for them to return to the Carlton before raiding their room.

During the sting, South Yorkshire Police officers laid out all the guns on a bed and posted a snap of them on Twitter.

In a now-deleted tweet, the force said: “Irresponsible AIRSOFT weapon ownership led to the waste of 14 deployed officer hours this evening for #SYPFirearms #SYPDogs and @SYPRotheram.”

But Henry fumed: “They were locked in a hotel room out of the way. Not that irresponsible at all really.”


A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “We were called at 10.06pm on March 2 to reports of guns sighted in a hotel in Rotherham.

“Armed officers were deployed. The firearms were discovered to be paintball guns.”

SWNS:South West News Service

The men were preparing to compete in a paintball event in Sheffield[/caption]

SWNS:South West News Service

Police were called to investigate the group shortly after they checked into the hotel[/caption]

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