ARMED police descended on the Lower Gardens in Bournemouth town centre after reports of a man with a gun half a mile away.

Residents and visitors watched on in the town centre as officers conducted searches of the area yesterday afternoon.

Dorset Police said they were called to reports of the incident in the subway under the Wessex Way, between Dean Park Road and Madeira Road.

Following their searches, police arrested a 31-year-old Bournemouth man on suspicion of possession of a firearm in the Lower Gardens.

Bournemouth Echo:

A Dorset Police spokesperson said: “Dorset Police was called at 2.37pm on, Wednesday, August 21, to a report of a man with a gun in the subway near to Dean Park Road in Bournemouth. Officers attended, including firearms officers, and carried out a search of the area.

“A 31-year-old Bournemouth man was detained in the Lower Gardens area of Bournemouth. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm and is currently assisting officers with their enquiries.”

Marked and unmarked police cars were parked in Exeter Road outside the BH2 complex and Moon in the Square pub.

The response appeared to be focused on the areas around the toilets in the Lower Gardens, with the police helicopter circling overhead.

There were also reports of armed officers in Madeira Road near the police station.

The Lower Gardens remained open to the public while police conducted their response.