Armed police today shut down part of a South Staffordshire village to hunt for a man wielding a Samurai sword.
Officers carrying machine guns sealed off a busy road, refusing to let people leave their homes without having their cars searched
These were the dramatic scenes in Long Lane, on the border of Essington and Great Wyrley, as officers hunted for the armed man who had earlier threatened a security guard at a construction site in the road.
A blockade of police cars was put in place stopping people getting into the street on foot or in cars and the Staffordshire Police helicopter was also drafted in to help the search.
Residents were being allowed to leave the street but all cars were being searched by police, who warned people would not be able to return to their homes until the drama was resolved.
The road was completely sealed off in both directions.
Staffordshire Police spokesman Nick Pritchard said: "Armed officers were deployed to Essington this morning after reported threats to a man at a construction site in Long Lane.
"The incident happened at around 5.30am.
"The man making the threats was said to be carrying what is described as a machete or Samurai sword.
"Armed response vehicles and the force helicopter were sent to the scene and carried out a thorough search but were unable to locate the offender."
The man threatened had been guarding the site of a road bridge in Long Lane, which was closed on Monday for safety work by Birse Rail to make it more secure in the event of crashes.
Neighbours today told of their shock at seeing armed police. Essington district and parish councillor David Clifft, who has lived in Long Lane for 20 years, said: "The police have told me it is a serious incident and they are concerned for people's safety.
"It was a bit of a shock going to leave my house for a jog at around 6am and finding an armed officer standing outside my door.
"The armed police were outside my house for 45 minutes. It was very scary.
"I will be requesting extra security tonight and health and safety have turned up.
"A risk assessment is going to be carried out at the bridge and I'm going to be asking for more security on site.
"You can't expect a guy to work in somewhere like this on his own."
Barbara Fellows, manager of Teddy Bears Nursery on Long Lane, said: "We have been told someone has been threatened, we don't really know much about it."
Sales assistant Hilda Brittle, from Pelsall, was trying to get to her sister's house on Long Lane and said she was shocked at being turned away by police.