ARMED police launched a manhunt for a suspect in central Bournemouth, after receiving reports he may be in possession of a firearm.

Officers carrying sub-machine guns searched a number of town centre locations, including The Square and an area close to Burlington Arcade, from mid-morning.

One man was even arrested outside Betfred bookies in Old Christchurch Road, only for it to be determined he was not a suspect and quickly released.

Witnesses told the Daily Echo that the man was ordered to get down on the floor at gunpoint by armed police.

One nearby worker, who asked not to be named, said: “It was quite a show, there was shouting, guns drawn, it all looked a bit Hollywood.

“After speaking with the guy and searching him, they let him go and sped off up the road.

It was a little intense to say the least.

“The fella looked a little dazed to be honest.”

A Dorset Police spokesman told the Daily Echo: “We have received information that a man may have been in possession of a firearm in Bournemouth town centre.

“No threats have been made to any members of the public and there have been no injuries."

The spokesman also confirmed there was nothing to suggest the incident was terrorism-related.

He added: “This is a fast-moving incident and more information will be given when available. One man was detained by armed officers in Old Christchurch Road, however it was very quickly established that he was not involved in the incident and has been released.”

A man has now been arrested at an address near Fordingbridge.

The man, a 55-year-old from Bournemouth, is being held on suspicion of possessing a firearm and is currently assisting officers with their enquiries.

Two air weapons were recovered.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, said: “This was a fast-moving incident and I would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding while this incident was ongoing and praise the professionalism of officers involved, including colleagues from Hampshire who assisted with the arrest of the man.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police by visiting or by calling 101, quoting 3:114.