A MAN was arrested after an armed police raid on a Southampton tower block.

The drama unfolded when several marked and unmarked police vehicles rushed to Millbrook Towers in Windermere Avenue.

Officers were called to the scene shortly before 1pm on Sunday after reports that a man was seen on the 19th floor with a weapon.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing police running up the stairs with sniffer dogs and interviewing people both inside and outside the building and on the tenth floor.

A man was later seen being brought down by officers and led to a police car before being driven away.

Police confirmed that a 26-year-old man was arrested after the concierge reported seeing a firearm.

A police spokesman said: “At 11.37am armed officers and dog units were deployed, a man arrested, and an imitation firearm recovered.

“Local residents are advised that this was an isolated incident.”

The man was later released without charge.

It is not known whether he lived there but it is thought he may have been known to residents in the block.

A 51-year-old man, who did not want to be identified, said: "I heard someone on the 19th floor had a gun and police have gone up there with dog handlers.

"It's very dramatic seeing police with dogs like that."

Gary Smith, who works at the Food Barn convenience store, first noticed when customers left the shop to see what was going on.

He said: “There were five or six police cars and a van outside. One car was for the dog handlers and they opened it up and there were dogs inside cages.

“I saw a white man in a coat and jeans being put into one of the cars.

“It caught a lot of people’s attention who were out there looking. I heard someone had a weapon and possibly had some problems.”

A woman on the 19th floor who did not want to give her name opened her front door to let a friend out and saw armed police in the corridor and said: “There was a policeman standing there with a gun and he said ‘get back in the house and stay there’.

“I thought it must have been drugs as he had a dog. It was very scary after I went back inside I heard someone got arrested.”

A 19-year-old woman neighbour who spotted the officers through her peephole said: “There were police on both sides of the landing leading the dogs around. They were there for nearly an hour and I kept on looking out every so often."

Another resident aged 23 said: “It was a bit of a shock to see and very unexpected.”

Two police cars were seen arriving and turning around on Kendal Avenue and left the area at about 1.15pm.

City councillor Lee Whitbread told the Daily Echo there is a large police presence in the area.

He said: "There are a lot of police officers there and in light of what is happening across the Channel it's actually quite frightening to see this kind of heavy police presence in the community."