After spotting a large number of officers armed with guns around the city yesterday, a number of concerned residents took to social media to ask if the day of action was related to terrorism.
But South Yorkshire Police today ruled this out and added that at least two of the sightings were part of a ‘pre-planned operation’.
Teams of armed police were first noticed inside several vehicles close to the Decathlon store near the city centre at 11am.
Residents then reported seeing a heavy armed police presence in Abbeydale Road from 11.30am until 3pm.
Eyewitness Chris Shelton said he saw a man being pinned to the floor outside the Sheffield Superstore in Abbeydale Road, after being surrounded by armed officers.
He said: “They were on him so quick. They appeared out of nowhere, and were holding him so tight.
“He didn’t have time to do anything, he was shocked. Everyone round here is really shocked, it’s not what you expect to see where you live.”
Abbeydale Road was blocked for 40 minutes following the incident, and residents saw the man being taken away by officers and put into a marked police vehicle.
Officers were also seen searching bins close-by, and a vehicle on Belper Road.
Armed officers were also seen in the Ecclesfield area that same afternoon.
In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said: “The police presence on Abbeydale Road and near Decathlon yesterday were connected and all officers were there as part of a pre-planned operation.
“We’re unable to release any further details at this stage however I can confirm that this operation does not relate to terrorism.
“The armed response in Ecclesfield was as a result of an entirely separate incident, also not related to terrorism.”
Police have not confirmed whether anyone has been arrested or charged.
We are expecting further updates to be released in the coming days.