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Armed cops contain Wild West Leicestershire toy gun menace

Fancy dress bash 'goes with a bang'

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A Leicestershire couple who decided it would be a wheeze to celebrate renewing their wedding vows with a Wild West-themed party got a bit of a shock when armed police backed by a helicopter descended on the bash.

According to the Telegraph, Roy and Val Worthington were "targeted" by law enforcement operatives as they left the church in Castle Donington en route to their local boozer, The Moira Arms. A local resident had reported that someone was wandering the village packing a piece.

Mrs Worthington, 47, explained: "On the day about 80 people turned up in costume. Some were dressed as saloon girls, others Indians, Mexicans - all ready for a good party. We were walking from the church to the pub just before lunchtime when we noticed the helicopter.

"Then we saw the armed police by the pub. There were four police cars parked outside. An officer approached me and said they had had a report of of someone walking around with a gun. But ours looked nothing like real guns. Most of them were blue and white and made from plastic, and some people even had water-pistols."

Mr Worthington, 47, who'd "arranged the event in tribute to his own love of cowboy films and his father's fondness for Country and Western music", said: "I can't believe anyone who saw us walking around would have thought we were a danger to the public. I was carrying two cap-guns.

"When I looked up in the air and saw the chopper I said to Val as a joke: 'Oh, you've bought me a helicopter as an anniversary present.' We just laughed and carried on walking - and then all of a sudden four cop cop cars pulled up. No one seemed to know what was going on."

He added: "I can see the funny side now, but it was just a total waste of money by the police. At the end of the day it was just people having a bit of fun."

In fact, police had previously been warned of the shindig, as Mrs Worthington explained: "Because of the gun laws, I phoned them in November to tell them we were having this themed do. I didn't think any more about it."

She concluded: "It's something we definitely won't forget. Everyone found it hilarious afterwards, and it certainly made the party go with a bang."

A Leicestershire police spokesman offered: "We have a duty to treat all reports of firearms as genuine." ®

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