ARMED cops were sent to a 'gunpoint car jacking'.... only to find it was an unscheduled exercise being carried out by a security company.

The Essex Police units were dispatched in Waltham Abbey yesterday after a number of 999 calls were made by eyewitnesses.

The police helicopter was also dispatched to help in the search.

But after identifying and surrounding the "suspects", it was discovered they were in fact part of a security company and were staging a fake kidnapping as a training scenario.

Scores of vehicles which matched the descriptions of those give to police were stopped across the town yesterday.

The incident is now being treated as a public order offence.

In a statement, Essex Police said: "All available units deployed to the area on emergency response with our #Npas friends lifting off as well.

"Numerous firearms teams and units converged on the area and it was quickly sealed off.

"All vehicles or persons matching the descriptions were stopped and searched by officers.

"Eventually the suspects were identified and surrounded by armed officers.

"This could have gone horribly wrong as the suspects identified themselves as a (security company) staging a fake kidnapping as a training scenario!!!


It added: "To the security company, and you know who you are! Perhaps notify #Essexpolice next time or better still, train somewhere else."