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Tewkesbury man Ian Driscoll amused after Echo story about police mistaking toy mortar for weapon goes national and international

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

surprised: Ian Driscoll from Tewkesbury and the toy model of a mortar tube that was mistaken for a real one

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SEEING his face appear in media across the world has amused Ian Driscoll, almost as much as the reason why he was in the news.

The 43-year-old from Tewkesbury was subject of a raid on his home by armed police who thought he had a mortar tube there.

Acting on intelligence, they demanded to see the 'weapon' they believed he had in his home in Margaret Road, Prior's Park.

But their terror alert tip off proved to be badly wrong. The mortar tube was actually a toy and formed part of a picture Ian had posted on his Facebook page.

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After the Echo exclusively broke the story on Wednesday, it was featured in several national newspapers in Britain.

It was also carried on a number of foreign websites, many of which were in the US. That followed fark.com, an American site which features quirky stories from around the world, carrying a link to the story on the Echo's website – www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk.

Ian said: "It was a good story that was funny and the reaction was brilliant.

"But I'm shocked. I thought the story would stay locally within Gloucestershire, maybe going into the Bristol area, but nothing like what happened."

He said the worldwide attention had tickled him, with a friend in Canada even saying he had read about it.

But he added that factual errors and exaggerations in some of the versions of the story had annoyed him.

Although he said the Echo had accurately reported the matter, some other media had not.

He was particularly concerned that some reports made out that officers had carried machine guns when in fact they had pistols.

Gloucestershire police explained that they had to take the terror alert seriously and felt sure that the public would rather they acted quickly on the tip-off, in case the toy mortar had turned out to be a weapon.

Ian said he still could not believe that officers did not look more carefully at the picture because, if they had, they would have known that the mortar was a toy.

The scale of the model, which belonged to his friend, was clear because there was skirting board and a remote control in the background.

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