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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 14:48 GMT
Shop acts after toy gun arrests
A Somerset shopkeeper has banned the sale of toy guns to children under 16 after two boys were arrested for playing with plastic pistols.

The pair, aged 11 and 13, were arrested for possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause alarm or distress after a motorist saw them in Yeovil.

They were released without charge. Police said they took imitation firearm incidents "very seriously".

The boys bought the guns for 99p from the Poundland store in Yeovil.

They were held after attending their local church youth club.

'Arrestable offence'

Poundland boss Kevin Withers said the store would now ban sales "to err on the side of caution".

The mother of one boy said she was considering making a formal complaint about how her son was dealt with by police.

"I can understand if the lady who was reported them was concerned but there was no reason for the police to take this as far as they have done."

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said the pair had been kept in a youth detention room - not an adult cell - with their parents.

"The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 bans carrying an imitation gun in a public place and to do so is an arrestable offence.

"Avon and Somerset Police take any incident involving firearms or imitation firearms very seriously.

"Many of the guns are very realistic and we cannot take the risk that they are fake when we are called to an incident."

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