ARMED police surrounded a house in Weymouth amid reports that a man was brandishing a gun.

The police helicopter was scrambled and the armed response unit mobilised during the incident.

After surrounding the house armed officers marched a group of young men outside at gunpoint.

However, it turned out that the man was one of a number of friends preparing for a fancy dress party and had a BB gun as part of his costume.

The police swooped after reports that a car passenger in Wyke Regis, Weymouth, was holding a handgun and traced the vehicle to the Park District.

Driver Max Nash was stopped outside his home in Hardwick Street before officers used his mobile phone to call his friends inside.

Mr Nash, 21, said: “I went to get out of the car when armed response pulled across the road.

“One of them said ‘stay in the vehicle and put your arms on the vehicle or we will shoot you.’ “He said if I moved he was going to shoot me.

“There were five or six guns being pointed at me so it was scary to start off with but it was funny in the end.”

His friends inside told how they were warned to leave the gun and were warned to show their hands as they came out or risk being shot.

Tom Bell, 20, from Portland, had been to his friend’s house to borrow the gun for his army costume.

He said: “My friend got a call and it was one of the police officers telling him to come downstairs.

“We were all sat up here while Max was downstairs at gunpoint and they had the helicopter out as well.

“They told us to put the gun on the table and walk down the stairs one by one.

“They had us at gunpoint and told my friend to get his hands out of his pockets or he’d be shot.”

Mr Bell said the BB gun was confiscated. He said the group was warned not to have them in public and that it was to be destroyed as it was dangerous.

He added: “I was so shocked to have guns pointed at me.

“I’m only used to it on computer games like Call of Duty.

“The gun was only for a bit of fun and I wasn’t even taking it into town. I was going to a party.

“They said it’s an offence but there must be loads of people on New Year’s Eve with guns that look just like that.

“It’s certainly made it a New Year’s Eve to remember.

Jarrid Pollard, 19, was on his way to see his friends but could not get through due to the police closing off Hardwick Street.

He said: “Obviously someone saw the gun in the carand reported it thinking it was a real gun.”

A Dorset Police spokesman said they received a report that a male passenger in a Vauxhall car was leaning out of a window with a handgun in his hand as the car drove along Douglas Road in Weymouth at 12.53pm on New Year’s Eve.

He said: “Enquiries were made and an area search commenced, culminating in the Vauxhall car being found parked in Hardwick Street.

“Officers entered a nearby address and spoke with five men all between 19 and 21 years of age.

“As is normal in such circumstances armed officers, supported by unarmed colleagues, dealt with the incident.

“The police helicopter was also deployed to the incident.

“A BB gun and pellets were handed over to the officers and the men were advised that incidents of this nature cause public concern and are also an unnecessary drain on police resources.”

Neighbour Jo Hutchings, 43, from Brownlow Street, said the operation was a waste of public money.

She said: “The lads there are good lads and the police just jumped out with their guns.

“It’s not right.

“Ask someone first.

“No one’s that dangerous in Weymouth.”