POLICE swooped on Bournemouth town centre yesterday lunchtime in the hunt for a wanted man who was believed to have been spotted on a roof.
The police helicopter was seen hovering above the Odeon cinema and Premier Inn on Westover Road at 1.35pm.
A spokesperson for Dorset Police said the helicopter was assisting with an "arrest enquiry" but that no one has been arrested following the search.
See how the drama unfolded in our live coverage here
The National Police Air Service in Winfrith said they were assisting Dorset Police in the search for a wanted person in Bournemouth town centre, but that the area had been cleared.
Officers were seen encircling the area in marked and unmarked police cars for over an hour and a search was carried out in the alleyways leading from Hinton Road.
Stephen Muzzelle, manager of the Fun Central arcade in Westover Road, said: “I got back here about 2.10pm and there was quite a commotion with five or six police cars outside, and the helicopter circling.
“People said there was someone on the roof, above us or the Odeon. The police were staring at the roof as they went past as well.
“I have no idea how anyone could have got up there, but the police didn’t come in here and we saw no one, so whether he got away or not I don’t know.”
Residents and local businesses have reacted with shock at hearing a search was being carried out for a wanted man.
Terry Burton from Westover Gallery said: “I heard the noise of the helicopter and saw numerous police cars. I can't believe someone would be stupid enough to climb up on the roof.”
Resident Sam Norton said: “Police were circling the area for a long time. It's terrifying that they're searching for a wanted man.”
Sophie Bower, from Rafael Hair Design said: “People keep coming in here and asking about it. It is so shocking that someone was seen on the roof.”