SHOCKED tenants have described the dramatic moment armed police swooped on a Southampton estate after reports of a youth carrying a gun.

Families living at Redbridge Towers in Cuckmere Lane told how officers forced two suspects to lay on the ground and demanded to know which one of them had the weapon.

The incident unfolded just yards from a children's playground and Redbridge Community School.

One Redbridge Towers resident said: "I was coming out of the sheds on the ground floor when two teenagers being chased by police ran right in front of me.

"Police stopped them on the grass at the side of the building and told them to lie down with their arms out in front of them.

"One of the officers said 'Which one of you has the gun?'

"I saw four police officers but there were probably more. One police car was parked near the flats and another was down the road.

"I seen this sort of thing in London but not around here."

A mum sitting in a children's playground added: "I saw three police vehicles and a group of officers standing by a tree. There was a young lad sitting on the ground."

Other people living in the area also spoke of their shock.

A man parking his vehicle outside Redbridge Towers said: "I knew it was a rough neighbourhood but I didn't realise it was that bad."

A woman returning home with her shopping added: "Scary, isn't it? I wouldn't like to be bringing children up these days."

Other residents said they suspected that the police operation was probably drugs-related.

A police spokesman said: "We were called to Cuckmere Lane just after 2pm yesterday following reports of a man seen with what appeared to be a gun.

"A 15-year-old boy from Southampton has been arrested on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm.

"Another 15-year-old boy from Southampton has been arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled drug of Class B. They are in custody at this time."

It was the latest in a series of incidents involving armed police in the city.

In June officers rushed to Rowlands Walk in Townhill Park after reports that a man had entered a house and assaulted a woman before fleeing in a silver-coloured car.

Last month police were called to the Red Lion pub in Bitterne Precinct after a doorman witnessed a man dropping what appeared to be a gun in the pub's garden.

A man was later charged with possession of a loaded/unloaded air weapon in a public place.