Toy guns land boys in trouble
By Charlie Wood
ARMED police wearing bullet-proof vests swooped on a quiet Lismore laneway just after midday yesterday and arrested two youths carrying what they thought were high powered weapons.
At gun point, each youth was forced to lay face down while they were handcuffed and patted down. A care worker, who didn't want to be identified, watched the drama unfold from a nearby block of housing commission units.
"The youths walked out of the building, one was carrying what looked like an AK-47 assault rifle and the other had two handguns held across his chest," he said.
He said they looked very alert, like they were expecting trouble.
Moments later police, four wearing bullet-proof vests, converged from both ends of Diadem Lane just below Lismore Base Hospital and cornered the pair.
According to the witness they didn't resist and the younger of the youths threw down the handguns and yelled: "They're fake, they're fake, I want my mum."
Police Inspector David Larkin said that 'because of the size and construction of the implements the opinion at the time was they were realistic operational weapons'.
Police were alerted to the youths by a local business owner who saw them walking through a park near Hunter Street.
She also didn't want to be identified but claimed one of the youths had staged an attempted hold-up with what she thought was a gun eight months ago.
In the laneway, each of the suspects were secured in separate police vehicles and taken to Lismore police station for questioning.
Police confirmed they were aged nine and 14 and that the younger was released without charge.
The 14-year-old was also released some hours later and according to Inspector Larkin police were looking at the possibility of laying charges relating to the carrying offensive implements.
Just before the arrests, the nine-year-old boy had visited friends Rosanne Davy and Jamie at their house in nearby McKenzie Street.
"He's just a kid, a normal boy, proud of his new gun. If a kid can't walk around with a toy gun they shouldn't be sold," Rosanne said.