ARMED officers and the police helicopter were scrambled in response to an eight-year-old boy playing with a toy gun.

Officers, a dog unit and the air service were sent to reports of “two males possibly in possession of firearms” in Purbeck Road on Friday afternoon.

They arrived to discover two boys, six and eight, playing on the driveway.

On discovering the false alarm, police spent time talking with the boys and reassured the informant there was nothing to worry about.

The police response came as a surprise to Claire Hutchinson, whose son Kasim Ashraf was playing with his toy gun – which is broken and makes no noise – with a neighbour outside.

“We saw the helicopter so we thought something was happening,” Ms Hutchinson said.

“Next thing we know there’s cars outside the house, the dog van. They jumped out of the van with guns, but at that point they realised it was just kids playing.

“At first I thought I should get him out the way because I didn’t know what was going on, but as soon as the police officer said ‘Have you been playing with a toy gun?’, it just clicked who they were looking for.

“One of the officers stayed for a long time, answered a lot of questions and was really nice to Kasim, telling him they don’t want him to stop playing cops and robbers.”

Kasim was visiting his sister, who only moved into her flat on Purbeck Road last Monday.

After having his game of cops and robbers called to a halt by police, Kasim has his eyes set on his dream.

“I really want to be a policeman now,” Kasim said.

“When the police all turned up with their guns I thought it was really cool.

“They showed me some of the stuff they use like his helmet, mask and what they use to knock the door down with.”

It was revealed last week that it costs £800 an hour to fly the National Police Air Service helicopter. Dorset is among the first forces to introduce a drone unit as a cheaper alternative.

In response to the incident on Friday, a Dorset Police spokesperson said: “Dorset Police received a report of a sighting of two males possibly in possession of firearms in Purbeck Road in Bournemouth.

“Officers attended and a search of the area was carried out, with support from the NPAS helicopter, and it was established that the sighting related to two children playing with toy guns.

“The informant was spoken to and reassured. No further action was taken.”