The British police officers that raided Ian Driscoll's Tewkesbury home found the mortar they were looking for. They just didn't expect it to be plastic. Or a model.
"The Action Man looked a bit like me, so I decided to put it as my Facebook picture," Driscoll, who makes models for a living, explained to the Daily Mail. "I didn't even notice the mortar in the background." But someone else did and promply reported him to authorities.
Not to be accused of being soft on gun crime, the police obtained a search warrant and sent officers round to Driscoll's home to investigate. Five vans-worth of police—armed with real guns—apparently without bothering to actually look at the photo. Otherwise, they'd probably have noticed that the mortar in question is just slightly larger than an action figure and roughly as long as the remote control also pictured.
"It's tiny and quite clearly a toy. I can't stop laughing. I think it's hilarious," Driscoll said. The raiding officers were understandably chagrined at the mix-up but defend their response.
According to Gloucestershire police spokesman Alexa Collicott,
The information was given to us in good faith and we acted with good intentions. We are sure that the community would rather we acted quickly on information given to us of this nature, in case it had turned out to be a weapon. The officers attending were hugely relieved that it wasn't anything more sinister and we would much rather have a result like this than to put the public in harm's way by not taking action.
Or, you know, perform a bit of "police work" before sending in the brute squad.