London: Armed police stormed a family's Hampstead home after a toy rifle was mistaken for a real weapon.

John and Lucy Trimbos were in their mansion block flat when Met officers smashed down the front door.

The couple ran out into the hallway with their two sons to find SO19 officers in body armour, helmets and goggles training semi-automatic weapons on them.

Solicitor Trimbos and his eldest son, 15-year-old Oliver, were handcuffed and led out while officers searched the house.

But all they discovered was a BB rifle that fires plastic pellets.

The incident comes three weeks after the Met had to apologise for the Forest Gate raid in which a man was shot. Nothing was found and two brothers were released without charge.

Trimbos, 42, thought his home was under attack. He said: "My initial reaction was that a drunk or drug addict had broken in and my first thought was to grab a heavy object to protect my family. Thank God I didn't because it only takes one trigger-happy cop. Words can't describe the feeling of seeing guns trained on your chest and your family."


The family's ordeal began when an ex-Army officer staying in a hotel across the road saw Oliver and a friend in his bedroom playing with a BB rifle and mistook it for the real thing.

He called police and the top-floor £800,000 flat was put under surveillance as the road was blocked off.

Mrs Trimbos, a telecoms regulator, said: "My seven-year-old Felix was on the sitting room floor playing with his toys and Oliver and I were in there sending some emails on the laptop.

"Then there was this crash and lots of extremely threatening shouting."

Mrs Trimbos, also 42, told how her pleas to be told what was going on were ignored as she and Felix, still in his school uniform, were taken outside.

She said: "My neighbour poked his head out the door. I felt like asking him to call the police but it was the police that were doing this to us." The family were held in the street for an hour as police searched the house, eventually finding the toy rifle.