May 18, 2007, 12:51 AM
ARMED police burst into a house after spotting a gun-wielding suspect lurking in the shadows - only to find it was a life-sized model of cyberbabe Lara Croft.
Computer shop owner David Williams had taken the Tomb Raider dummy - complete with trademark oversized pistols - to his home in Dukinfield, near Manchester, England, to put it up for sale on auction site eBay.
But instead on an apology, red-faced officers arrested the 42-year-old and hauled him off to jail.
He was held for more than 13 hours before being released and is now on bail for a suspected firearms offence.
Williams finds out if he faces further charges next month.
May 18, 2007, 12:53 AM
Armed police raid home after mistaking Lara Croft dummy for gunman
James Tozer - More by this author »
Last updated at 18:57pm on 15th May 2007
Model behaviour: The mannequin armed police swooped on
When police spotted a gun-wielding suspect lurking in the shadows of a suburban front room, their response was swift.
Armed officers burst into the house, shouted at the owner to lie on the floor, and ordered him to surrender his weapon.
But efficiency turned to embarrassment when the "gunman" turned out to be a life-sized model of the video game character Lara Croft, complete with trademark outsized pistols.
Computer shop owner David Williams, 42, had taken the dummy home to put it up for sale on the auction site eBay.
As the source of the confusion dawned on all concerned, it might have been the moment for an apology from the police.
Instead, however, Mr Williams was taken to the cells and held for more than 13 hours before being released.
He is now on bail for a suspected firearms offence, and Lara Croft remains impounded as evidence.
"It would have been laughable if it hadn't been so terrifying," he said yesterday. "One of the police held a gun and yelled, 'Where's the weapon, where's the weapon?'
"I didn't have a clue what was going on, I assumed they'd got the wrong house. I couldn't believe it when I realised they'd mistaken a Lara Croft dummy for someone with a gun."
Father-of-two Mr Williams had phoned police after receiving nuisance phone calls, and officers arrived at his house in Dukinfield, near Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, shortly before midnight.
He says he did not hear them arrive, but unknown to him one officer had seen the dummy's silhouette through the front window and called for armed back-up.
Soon afterwards, the street was cordoned off and a team of armed officers burst in through Mr Williams's back door.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said officers peered inside after Mr Williams failed to answer his front door.
"They believed they saw a silhouette of a person pointing what appeared to be a firearm inside the house," she said.
They followed "correct procedure" by withdrawing to await armed officers, she added.
"Officers then went into the house and found a mannequin holding a toy weapon."
Mr Williams, who says he is speaking to lawyers about a possible claim for wrongful arrest, will hear whether he faces further action when he answers bail next month.
May 18, 2007, 12:57 AM
not that it matters... but dupe.
just thought I'd let you know. Although I'm glad you mentioned it was Australia. I thought it was UK. Both have a Manchester.
May 18, 2007, 01:06 AM
I did a search on the name of the fellow involved, but that apparently doesn't inside quotes.... oh well...