The ‘crazy’ moment armed police swoop on a cyclist ‘with hand grenades in his rucksack’

This is the moment armed police pinned down a suspect allegedly carrying two hand grenades.

Plain-clothes officers can be seen pointing their guns at a cyclist after he was forced off his mountain bike and pushed face down into the ground today.

Police say they found two suspected hand grenades in his rucksack, sparking the evacuation of an estimated 400 residents in Stretford, Manchester.

The dramatic arrest is believed to be part of a string of police raids related to the supply of firearms to gangs, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The raids in Stretford, Trafford, and Wythenshawe in neighbouring south Manchester are not terrorism-related.

So far, police have seized what they believe to be three guns and four hand grenades. Ballistics experts have been asked to confirm the finds.

Suspected class A and B drugs have also been seized.

Detectives believe they may have prevented a blood-bath.

Witnesses described the moment armed police arrested the cyclist as he was pedalling along Taylor’s Road in Gorse Hill at its junction with Stanway Street on Friday afternoon.

One person, who declined to be named, said: “It was manic, crazy and surreal.

“He was riding up the street on his mountain bike and the police have screeched up.

“They almost knocked him off his bike. Police officers jumped out of two cars and jumped on him and forced him to the floor.

“They were shouting ‘stay down’. They had handguns and machine guns in his face. His bag was on the floor at the corner. They had obviously been watching him.”

Another resident said police pounced on the man while the rucksack was up against a nearby wall.

Police later confirmed they found two suspected hand grenades in the suspect’s bag.

The army bomb squad was called to the scene and an estimated 400 homes around Gorse Hill were evacuated. Residents were eventually allowed back into their homes late on Friday night.

Police have searched six properties – five of them in Stretford and one in Wythenshawe – and arrested nine suspects. Four have been released while five men remain in custody and are being interviewed.

Officers have executed a series of warrants on Milton Road, Milton Close, Derwent Road, Ascot Avenue and Taylor’s Road in Stretford; and Firbank Road in Wythenshawe.

On Saturday morning, police, backed by army bomb disposal officers, swooped on a block of flats at Milton Close in Stretford.

The residents in about 60 flats in three blocks were evacuated and have been put up The Hilton Garden Inn, Hotel Football and at a Travelodge in Old Trafford.

They have been given food vouchers and told to hand over keys to sheds so police can search them.

One resident, a mother-of-two, said: “I just heard really loud banging.

“The police told us to ‘get out, it’s not safe’.

“Then the bomb squad turned up. “

Detective Superintendent Danny Inglis, GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Lead, said: “We appreciate there has been a significant police presence in the local area over the past couple of days which has no doubt caused disruption and we’d like to thank the community for their continued support and patience as our enquiries continue.

“Due to the nature of the items that have been recovered, colleagues from the British Army are supporting us with our enquiries as it’s vital that we take all the necessary precautions to protect the public.

“House searches remain ongoing at this time and a number of residents have been evacuated as a precaution.

“We have worked closely with partners including Trafford council to ensure that this happened as quickly and safely as possible.

“We will continue to provide updates as often as we can as our investigation progresses throughout the weekend.”

A spokesperson for Trafford council said: “Council staff worked closely with colleagues from the police and Trafford Housing Trust to safely evacuate residents to hotel accommodation last night.

“Our staff are liaising with the evacuated residents again today to make sure they are provided with food and their welfare needs are being met. We will also help them with moving back into their homes once it is safe to do so.”

Arrests made by GMP, as of 12pm, Saturday:

Milton Road, Stretford, Thursday – woman, 41, detained on suspicion of possession of a firearm.

Ascot Avenue, Stretford; Firbank Road, Wythenshawe, Thursday – man, 43, detained on suspicion of possession of a firearm; woman, 47, detained on suspicion of possession of a firearm; woman, 32, detained on suspicion of assisting an offender (released, no further action).

Milton Road/Derwent Road, Friday – four men and one woman detained on suspicion of ‘firearms offences’ (ages not released).

Of the above, five men remained in custody on Saturday, GMP said