Armed police swarm home of Hollywood stars Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson after machine gun find
12:18 29 August 2014
Armed police have stormed the Primrose Hill home of Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson and director Sam Taylor-Johnson after an ex-Iranian soldier saw a machine gun in the celebrity couple’s sitting room.
Shocked neighbours awoke to about a dozen police brandishing their own machine guns, who surrounded the couple’s home late last night.
The actor, famous for his roles in Godzilla and Kick-Ass, along with his partner Sam, who directed Nowhere Boy and Fifty Shades of Grey, were said to be out of the country at the time.
Phil Cowan, a Primrose Hill resident who was passing by at the time, told the Ham&High: “I was just walking my dog and saw an old man looking down into the couple’s basement window.
“I looked down and was shocked at what I saw – a gun lying on a desk.
“The older gentleman said he was an ex-Iranian soldier and said it was a machine gun. He called the police. Two minutes later we were bundled into the back of an unmarked police car.
“Then a whole load of armed police came – I’ve never seen anything like it. They covered the area brandishing guns.
“Nobody appeared to be in to let them into the property so they deliberately let the alarm off.
“They then had to wake up a magistrate judge to get a warrant to enter the property. I believe they broke in round the back.
“When I returned the next morning, the gun was gone from the desk.”
The machine gun was eventually found by police to be a deactivated M16 rifle given to Mrs Taylor-Johnson by international charity Peace One Day as part of an art project entitled Peace One Day M16.
A number of neighbours were woken in the early hours of the morning to the sound of the alarm.
One neighbour of the celebrity duo told the Ham&High: “There were an awful lot of police, I knew something was going on.
“I was returning home at the time and saw them all on the street outside. I saw one of them with a gun standing on the corner.”
A police spokesman said: “Police were called at 23:40 hours on Thursday by a member of the public, reporting that they had seen from the street, what they thought was a firearm, sitting on a desk by the window of a property.
“Local officers and officers from the Met’s Firearms Unit attended and were let into the property to examine the firearm.
“It was confirmed that the firearm was a deactivated M16 rifle.
“No arrests were made.”
A spokesperson from the Taylor-Johnson family said: “We can confirm that early this morning police were called to the London home of Mr and Mrs Taylor-Johnson following a report of a firearm on the premises by a concerned passer-by.
“The family were not present in the property at the time but the police gained entry via a key holder.
“The firearm was located in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s basement studio and has been confirmed as a certified and fully decommissioned M16 assault rifle that was provided to Mrs Taylor-Johnson by the international charity Peace One Day as part of an art project entitled ‘Peace One Day M16’.
“The project, curated by Jake Chapman, consists of new works by some of the most celebrated names in contemporary art all of whom are transforming fully decommissioned M16 assault rifles.”