ARMED police charged through a fund-raising garden party in a
south London churchyard last Sunday, hunting for a man heard firing
Parishioners of St Alfege's, Greenwich, were holding a
coffee-and-cake sale after the morning service, at the end of
Christian Aid Week, when officers carrying sub-machine guns dashed
through the garden.
The Vicar, the Revd Christopher Moody, said that those attending
the party saw the armed policemen, but were too shocked to
"Their presence was noted, but it took a while to sink in how
extraordinary it was to see armed police after a morning service,"
he said on Wednesday.
One eyewitness, Robert Gray, said that the surreal scene could
have been from a long-running TV crime show: "It was a bit like a
Midsomer Murders set, with everyone having cream teas.
"Suddenly, there was a big flashing police car going past the
gates of the church, and a couple of minutes later - I was sitting
down on a bench next to the vicar's wife - there were two armed
policemen with the biggest sub-machine guns I have ever seen. They
came in like it was a film set. It was amazing."
A spokesman for the Metropolitan police said that the officers
had been responding to a 999 call from a member of the public, who
had heard a gunshot on nearby Trafalgar Road.
"Officers, including armed officers, attended the scene, and a
man was identified and arrested in St Alphege Park," he said. "The
man, aged 49, has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a
firearm with intent to cause fear or alarm. He remains in custody."
No injuries were reported.
Mr Moody said that the mood was one of "bemusement" among those
in the churchyard rather than fear. "No one panicked, and the
coffee-and-cake sale carried on as if nothing had happened."
The garden party raised £681 for Christian Aid.