Builder complains ‘heavy-handed’ police destroyed air rifles after target practice at historic home

A builder has hit out over the heavy-handed “army” of police who stormed his site after he and his colleagues had enjoyed a spot of target practice with “toy” guns at a historic Hampstead home.

Jarek Turlik and his workers had been firing a pistol and rifle air guns at paint pots in the courtyard of 18th century Romney’s House when a concerned neighbour reported them to the police.

An hour after the workmen had packed their guns away, armed police stormed the former artist’s home brandishing automatic weapons at the puzzled builders.

Officers seized and destroyed a �230 replica of a Berretta pistol and a �500 air rifle with a fitted scope. They swept the rest of the house for more firearms, but admitted it had been a “false alarm”.

Father-of-two Mr Turlik, who has been working on the site for more than two years, said he was gob-smacked at how the police reacted and was considering complaining.

“I’m relieved that no-one was hurt and I’m happy we didn’t have the guns in our hands when the police came in, otherwise they might have shot us,” said the 35-year-old foreman from Greenford in west London.

“It was just a really ridiculous situation where there was no point in doing it the way they did.”

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A police spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service seek to ensure the safety of the general public and we work with the local community to respond to concerns.

“We received a report of firearms being used from a concerned member of the public, we attended and a disclaimer was signed allowing the firearms to be destroyed.

“We have not received any complaints related to the incident.”

Work on the Grade I-listed home is expected to finish in two weeks.