ARMED police forced a busy Sheffield road to close after marksmen swooped on a car while hunting for a suspect.
City Road, between Wulfric Road and Cradock Road, was blocked by police cars holding up trams, buses and motorists.
Eyewitnesses told The Star the officers searched local businesses and police appeared to be focusing on a vehicle on City Road.
Tram passenger Stewart Dalton said his journey was interrupted when an unmarked police car stopped ‘abruptly’ outside a barber’s shop, blocking the tramlines.
He said several other police cars with armed officers arrived ‘within seconds’, and ordered customers out of the shop at gunpoint.
“They were taken to the opposite side of the road, frisked and held until the incident was over,” he said.
“Further police vehicles arrived including the police dog team.
“Several officers and the dog entered the premises, eventually came out and entered the premises next door.”
Mr Dalton added: “One of the individuals originally searched appeared to hand over his car keys.
“The car was searched and then, 45 minutes after it had all started, the police left.”
Another eye witness, Steve Smith, aged 38, from Manor Top in Sheffield, said the incident started at about 10.20am and there was a ‘heavy police presence’.
Mr Smith, who works as a binman, said: “My friend phoned me and said he was stuck on a tram at Gleadless Town End.
“At first he thought the tram had hit a car or something, but when I got there there were all these guns and police.
“Trams and buses were stuck on the road.”
He added: “I understand a car was involved.
“There were police with guns and they were tapping on the window with guns, trying to get somebody out of a car.
A policeman hit the butt of a gun against the car window.”
Mr Smith said the police officers arranged themselves in a circle as they surrounded the vehicle.
“There were officers with hard hats, big rifles and stun guns. There were a lot of people looking at what was going on.”
Mr Smith added he saw ‘at least three’ marksmen and felt concerned after seeing the incident develop.
“I’m quite shocked to see something like this happening,” he said.
“All the police cars left together, they drove off at high speed all the way down City Road. It all happened very quickly.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed officers stopped a vehicle on the road yesterday morning ‘in relation to an ongoing policing operation’.
“Armed officers assisted as a matter of precaution, the road was temporarily closed for about 30 minutes but was fully re-opened at around 10.40am. No arrests have been made and inquiries continue. Police would like to reassure the public they can safely go about their daily business.”