ARMED police raided a weapons collector’s flat after a neighbour claimed he had been firing a crossbow.

Officers surrounded 39-year-old Martin Dixon’s flat and pointed laser sights at his friends.

Four people were arrested on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons in the raid, but later released without charge.

The drama unfolded in Barnfield Place, Witham, after a member of the public called police, claiming a crossbow had been fired in a public place.

However Mr Dixon denied the claim and said having just bought the £120 crossbow, he had merely been showing it to his pal, Alex Rudd, 21, in his garden.

Mr Rudd said: “Me and my girlfriend were asleep and Martin was asleep in the living room. The police phoned him and said to come down.

“There were lights coming through the window. We were told to stand at the window and there were red dots on our heads.

“I could see police on the roof.

“They told us: ‘When I say, move your hands and go to the door.’”

When they entered the flat, at about 1.30am on Monday, police found the crossbow, plus a machete and a samurai sword. Mr Dixon, Mr Rudd, his girlfriend, and an 18-year-old who was also in the flat were all arrested.

Mr Dixon said: “I’m a weapons collector. I’m very passionate about weapons.

“I wasn’t breaking the law at all.

“I told them at the time they only needed to send a couple of officers.”

Mr Dixon had hoped to be able to find a safe and legal place where he could use the crossbow, but says police ordered him to hand it in.

A police spokesman said: “We originally had a call about a man firing a crossbow in a public area off Newland Street.

“Because of the mention of a crossbow, we sent armed officers.”

He said the weapons were thought to have been on private property and there was no evidence the crossbow had been fired.

The spokesman added: “All four people arrested were released from police custody and no further action will be taken against them.”