Wandsworth's borough commander has sought to reassure residents and parents after a man brandishing an imitation firearm was arrested near a Tooting primary school this morning.

A number of worried witnesses called police at 9.25am after the man wearing combat clothes was spotted near Fircroft Primary School, in Glenburnie Road.

Within two minutes safer neighbourhood officers were on the scene and a minute later armed officers arrived.

After ensuring the school was safe, they found the man and formally arrested him at 10.20am.

Police described the man as "53-year-old character" and the incident took place just a few hundred yards from Springfield mental hospital.

They confirmed that the weapon was a replica - but were not prepared to comment on the type or whether he was carrying more than one.

Chief-superintendent David Chinchen said: "A number of people rang in relation to a character wearing combats clothing or army fatigues who appeared to be in possession of an imitation firearm.

"We attended very promptly and secured the school itself before making a quick search of the area when we found the individual in question.

"There were already officers on patrol in the area who were there within two minutes.

"It is really important that people understand that we made an arrest very quickly."

Mr Chinchen said extra patrols are being deployed to the scene and they will be there after school to reassure worried parents.

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