ARMED police have swooped on a house in an operation to remove firearms from Swindon's streets.

In the intricately planned raid, armed officers, acting on information that guns were being stored at a Pinehurst address, arrived at The Circle in convoy and immediately sealed off the area.

A second wave of officers from the north Swindon neighbourhood policing teams then sealed the outer edges of The Circle, to make sure members of the public did not stray into the line of fire.

A police negotiator spoke to the occupant of the house, before it was thoroughly searched.

During the search, two air rifles and two replica guns were surrendered to police.

Chief Inspector Simon Dicks, leading the operation, said that, although the weapons are not illegal while kept inside the man's home, the raid had helped to make Swindon's streets safer.

"This was absolutely not a waste of time," said Ch Insp Dicks.

"If we have got four firearms less in circulation then I can sleep happier at night.

"These guns look very real, and could cause people to be genuinely scared, and if this man's house was burgled then they could be out on the street.

"We do not use armed police officers lightly, but in this case it was considered the safest course of action for the public and our officers.

"If people have firearms they have to make sure they are properly stored and licensed by the police.

"We will seize any firearms in Swindon, unless there is a lawful purpose for people to have them."

Swindon's new divisional commander of operations, Chief Superintendent Paul Howlett, said: "There is a national issue about guns and gangs, but that is not to say there is an issue with them in Swindon.

"We came into information about firearms, which can cause lethal harm.

"And we have to make sure people are safe.

"Undertaking armed searches with armed officers there is always a risk and we have to make sure it is safe for the people around and the police officers involved.

"In this case it transpired that the guns were, in fact, lawfully possessed weapons rather than firearms.

"But of course air weapons and BB guns are capable of looking like real fire arms and there is a real risk if people carry them or display them in public."

The occupant of the house was not arrested in the operation.