A couple was arrested at gunpoint in the middle of the night when a remote control was mistaken for a firearm.
Michelle Malone, 46, and Keith Abrahams, 44, were woken up by an armed police raid at their home and bundled into a police van.
Cops swooped after reports of a man brandishing a gun in the property – but it turned out to be the TV remote.
Now Michelle and Keith are suing after being locked in a cell and quizzed by detectives for four hours.
They were later released without charge and – to top off the indignity of the entire situation – “humiliated” Keith was forced to walk home in just his underwear.
The mix-up happened on June 24 when a paramedic attended the couple’s house after Michelle suffered a panic attack.
But her condition worsened when 18 officers burst into their flat in Hereford at 1am the next morning.
The pair said they were surrounded by 10 armed officers wearing body armour, eight uniformed police as well as a dog handler.
They were then frog-marched from their home and taken to a nearby police station.
Officers then conducted a forensic fingertip search of the property but found no trace of a gun.
Detectives confirmed during the pair’s interview that the paramedic believed he had spotted Keith holding a firearm in the bedroom.
Michelle revealed how Keith had been watching TV in bed at the time of the medic’s visit – and the only thing he had been holding at the time was a remote control.
Michelle commented, “The police told us the medic had seen a 10 inch long black firearm being held by Keith as he lay in bed – but he had dozed off watching TV in his bedroom; it must have been the remote. There is no other explanation. The room was dark but I can’t see how you would mistake it for a weapon.
I suffered the indignity of being treated like this all for the sake of a television remote control. I’m an upstanding citizen and normal people should not be treated like this. I can only believe to imagine what my neighbours thought. I just remember running out of bed after hearing a bang like an earthquake and seeing police pointing guns at Keith, who was up against the wall.
We were held at the station for four hours but released without charge, but I couldn’t believe it when I heard they were searching for a gun. I’ve never had a gun in my life – I’ve never even seen one before. It was just horrendous. I got back to the house and it was completely wrecked from the search and I just broke down. We received no apology and I just feel violated by their intrusive actions.”
Michelle, a former prison custody officer, is now taking legal action against West Mercia Police and has complained to the IPCC after she suffered concussion, which she says was a result of police’s heavy-handed tactics.
Keith, a forklift truck driver, added: “I was shocked to death. Having guns pointed within an inch of my eyes is not the most fun. I had only been sat in bed and I’d dozed off watching something on telly. The next thing I know I’m being ordered out of bed at gunpoint; it was absolutely terrifying. They took Michelle home but I had to walk back wearing a vest and boxer shorts. It was pretty humiliating.”
The couple are also demanding an apology from West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) who have since launched an internal investigation into the paramedic who called police.
Yesterday a police spokeswoman confirmed that they were investigating the complaints raised by Michelle and Keith.
A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “WMAS has received a formal complaint regarding the incident in Hereford. It would be inappropriate to comment further while an investigation into the complaint is ongoing.”