Armed police stopped and surrounded a car near the Egham Bypass yesterday (November 27) after a toy gun was mistakenly reported as real.

Responding to a request from the Comet, a spokesperson for Surrey Police said that armed police stopped and searched the vehicle and its three occupants under the Firearms Act.

"We were called around 3.10pm yesterday (27 November), following reports that three men had been seen along the Egham bypass with what appeared to be a firearm," the spokesperson said.

"Armed response officers attended and the men were searched under Section 47 of the Firearms Act.

"A plastic gun was recovered as a result of the search. This has been retained by officers and will be destroyed.

"At this time, we do not believe that any threats were made and the three men have all been given warnings," they added.

Meanwhile, Surrey Police issued a stern warning to residents about the dangers and penalties ascribed to carrying 'imitation' firearms.

The spokesperson pointed out that if police believe one's possession of an imitation gun is "with intent to cause fear of violence" the owner could face a lengthy jail term.

"We would like to remind people that carrying replica toy weapons in public has serious implications and that using them irresponsibly can place members of the public and police officers in very dangerous situations.

"We would also like to remind people that possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison," they said.