A VILLAGE was “locked down” by police on Wednesday after a man claiming to be armed threatened to kill the police and the public.

The 19-year-old was arrested in woods near Little Staughton after a four-hour search, which began when he called police at 10.40pm on Wednesday.

He allegedly claimed to be in possession of several weapons, including grenades, and armed police were dispatched to locate him.

He was eventually arrested and taken into custody but has since been transferred to Bedford Hospital for a mental health assessment.

Firearms officers, police dogs, response officers, CID and trained negotiators and the force helicopter were deployed to the incident and vehicles driven by members of the public were prevented from entering the village while the operation was ongoing.

Chief superintendent Mike Colbourne, who led the operation, said: "The village was effectively locked down so that police could find this man with minimum risk.

"The threat he posed at the time appeared to be very real and so public and officer safety were paramount.

"Searching through the dark foggy night was difficult but he was eventually located in the woods.

"He has been arrested but it is important his mental health is assessed before he is interviewed for the offences committed.

"I would like to apologise to residents for any disruption or noise caused but also reassure them that Bedfordshire Police's priority last night was to fight crime and protect the public and our considerable response to this incident showed that."

The 19-year-old was arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill and wasting police time. He remains under arrest in hospital.