PEOPLE living in an Exeter street closed off by armed police have spoken of their shock after discovering it was part of an alleged kidnapping.
Officers from Scotland Yard have confirmed that firearms officers attended an address in Monks Road as a man was being held against his will.
A large residential area surrounding the site was sealed off for more than an hour during the incident.
Witnesses said several firearms officers were involved and a large cordon was put in place to secure the scene.
One man was subsequently arrested as part of an on-going Metropolitan police investigation and has been released on police bail. The man who was being held was freed unharmed.
A spokesman for the Met confirmed: "As part of an on-going intelligence led investigation officers from the Met's Kidnap and Specialist Investigations Unit, with the assistance of Devon and Cornwall police, attended an address in Monks Road, Exeter, on Saturday, August 31, at around 8.15pm.
"A man in his 30s who had been held against his will was recovered unharmed. A 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of blackmail and firearms offences and he was released on bail whilst an investigation continues."
The drama was witnessed by several residents living in and around Monks Road.
Joe Wane, 46, said: "An armed officer was stopping anyone crossing the police line.
"We needed to go through and asked the police how long it would take.
"They couldn't tell us as they did not know how it was going to go. I didn't know it was because of a kidnapping until you just told me.
"That is a shock. But I knew it must be something serious. You don't see police with guns every day in Exeter."
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: "We were just sat at home and heard a lot of police sirens and officers with guns. They stopped everyone going down. But there became such a back-up they let cars travel down Monkswell Road.
"When I saw armed officers, I just said, 'Oh my God.' I just looked out my door to see what was going on and there were police and guns everywhere. I just went back inside as I thought it would be best to stay out the way and I did not see them arrest anyone.
"It is a big shock to see something like that – only because the police were armed. To be honest there are always police cars going up and down this road but I haven't seen them with guns before. That was a different kettle of fish."
Devon and Cornwall Police said they were asked by the Met to assist in the incident.
The spokesman said a particular individual was targeted.
He said: "He was not a resident of Devon and Cornwall and the information we had was that he would only be staying two or three days in the area.
"He was successfully taken into custody.
"Officers remained on the scene afterwards to reassure residents that only one person was involved and he was in custody."