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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
'Lara Croft' sparks police alert
Lara Croft
The real Lara Croft is rarely seen in supermarket car parks
A Lara Croft lookalike sparked an armed police alert after a photoshoot at a Sussex supermarket.

Officers were called out after reports of a woman wielding two silver revolvers in a Tesco car park.

The police helicopter was called into action after shoppers spotted Michelle Powell, dressed like the film and computer game heroine, at the supermarket in Portslade, near Brighton.

It was feared the armed woman might be staging a robbery - but it turned out she had toy guns and was just taking part in a publicity event.

Black PVC catsuit

Police headed for the scene after the 999 call but by the time they got there "Lara" and her male accomplice had left in a black Jeep.

If you are waving replica firearms around it does cause alarm and fear in people who see them
Sussex Police

Witnesses told officers she had been waving two silver revolvers and was clad in a black PVC catsuit.

Patrol cars across the Brighton area were told to look out for the Jeep and armed response units were alerted.

A witness gave police the registration number and officers managed to trace the vehicle to a house in Hove, where it was parked on the driveway.

They approached the house wearing protective body armour only to discover Mrs Powell, 38, and her husband Bob had been taking publicity photos for a Lara Croft event.

Guns from pound shop

Mrs Powell, who works as a part-time Lara lookalike and makes most of her own costumes, told them she had bought the toy guns from a pound shop.

Model Lucy Clarkson as Lara Croft
Looking like Lara Croft can be big business for models
She said: "We were out taking some shots and it was actually very early in the morning on Easter Sunday so we just did not think anybody would be around.

"I did not mean any malice or harm to anybody and I have done shots before and police have said it's fine."

Sussex Police said Mrs Powell had been given "advice" about her behaviour.

A spokeswoman said: "If you are waving replica firearms around it does cause alarm and fear in people who see them.

"If you are doing any filming or anything like that, let police know."

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