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Young Sittingbourne family terrified as armed police raid neighbour's house after hoax call

By Andy Gray

A mother-of-two says her children were left traumatised in the wake of an armed raid triggered by a hoax call.

Officers carrying shields and guns descended on a property in Watling Place, Sittingbourne, at about 3.10pm yesterday.

It followed reports of a firearm incident that turned out to be false.

Leanne Maxwell and her two-year-old daughter, who live next door to the house that was targeted in an armed raid in Sittingbourne

Leanne Maxwell, 29, whose property in South Avenue is next to the targeted address, said the incident terrified her young family - leaving them in a state of shock.

Describing how the drama unfolded, she said: "My little boy came running downstairs saying, 'Mum, there's loads of police cars outside'.

"Then, about two minutes later, I had police running past my house carrying shields and guns.

"They banged on doors telling people to stay in the house. My daughter was screaming, 'they're going to shoot me, they're going to shoot me'."

Armed police arrive in Watling Place, Sittingbourne, after a hoax call. Picture: Travers Bean

Up to seven police cars attended the incident. The air ambulance was also called, landing in a nearby field, with land-based medical teams also on standby.

As a further security measure, the road was closed to traffic from East Street to Chiltern Avenue.

After carrying out checks, the call was found to be a hoax and emergency services were stood down. The road was reopened at 3.55pm.

However, 10 minutes later, fire engines from Sittingbourne and Faversham were called to the same house in Watling Place after reports of a kitchen fire.

Officers were called to Sittingbourne after a hoax. Picture: Travers Bean

Crews assessed the property, but found no evidence of a blaze.

It too was put down to being a malicious call. Police said they are not ruling out the possibility of the two being linked. The case has been passed over to investigators and inquiries are ongoing.

Miss Maxwell, who has an eight-year-old son, and a daughter aged two, said many youngsters were outside playing when police stormed the address.

She said: "It's ridiculous for that amount of children to be present when something big like that happens."

Sever police cars in Watling Street, Sittingbourne, after the hoax call. Picture: Travers Bean

Miss Maxwell added: "My son was up all night because every time he heard something he thought it was the police.

"And the next morning my daughter kept asking: 'Am I going to get shot?'

"This end of the road isn't getting any better. I've been here three years and witnessed a stabbing and armed police outside my front door – it's not nice."

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