A HUGE police presence - including armed officers - descended on streets in Sutton during the early hours as a dramatic seven hour stand off unfolded.

The incident saw officers called to the area of Waterdale Crescent and Robins Lane after reports of a man causing damage to a betting shop with a hammer.

Police say that when officers arrived at 2.10am today (Sunday) the man had retreated to a flat above the bookies.

He was heard causing damage inside and was in the flat with a woman, who voluntarily left the building.

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The scene of the stand off

A short while after officers arrived, the man stood on the window ledge of the first floor flat and threatened to harm himself, say police.

Shortly afterwards the man, who had put on an armoured vest, produced an axe and what appeared to be a long barrelled weapon with a scope and threatened the officers.

Police retreated to a place of safety and armed officers were called.

A stand off developed as officers attempted to negotiate with the man inside the flat.

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Police say that throughout the night the man "threatened to harm himself with an array of weapons".

The incident was eventually brought to an end shortly after 9.20am and a man was taken to hospital as a precaution.

He was also arrested on suspicion "of firearms and public order offences".

Police add that a haul of weapons including knives, an axe and an imitation firearm have been recovered along with a circular saw.

A search of the flat is ongoing.

In a statement Chief Inspector Steve Brizell, said: "Officers attended at the address throughout the night to ensure the safety of the male concerned and the wider public."

"I would like to thank local residents for their patience and understanding."

More than 10 police vehicles - including what appeared to be tactical response teams - were stationed at the scene this morning.

Fire crews and paramedics were also there.

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A number of road closures were put in place just before 6am on the junctions of Waterdale Crescent and Gerrards Lane and Robins Lane, Garnet Street, Oxley Street, New Street.

Waterdale Place and Lancots Lane were also closed.

Officers started to remove the cordon shortly before 9.30am after the incident came to a conclusion.

One onlooker, who asked not to be named, said: “It appears there was a stand off with someone upstairs - above the sunbed shop.

“By all accounts it was very heavily guarded near the entrance by police who were carrying shields.

“It all came to an end shortly befor 9.30am and the man came down and was taken away in an ambulance.

“By all accounts it started between 2am and 3am.

"All the roads were sealed off this morning.

“It was quite a shocking experience really.

"To have police with guns and what looked like SWAT vans around here is frightening.”

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