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Police training leaves residents alarmed over gunshots

PUBLISHED: 07:32 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:16 30 June 2020

Hethersett Old Hall School is set to be transformed into Norfolk police's new training centre. Picture: Brittany Woodman

Hethersett Old Hall School is set to be transformed into Norfolk police's new training centre. Picture: Brittany Woodman

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The sound of gunshots from a police training exercise prompted alarmed residents to make a string of emergency calls.

Armed police on patrol in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris BishopArmed police on patrol in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

Police have moved to reassure people living near the former Old Hall School in Hethersett after receiving calls on Monday, June 29 about gunfire in the area.

In a tweet South Norfolk Police said: “We have had calls into our control room today from concerned residents in Hethersett around noise issues.

“We can confirm that officers were at Hethersett Old Hall site for a training exercise today and we apologise for any noise/disruption this might have caused.”

Hethersett Old Hall School is set to be transformed into Norfolk police's new training centre. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyHethersett Old Hall School is set to be transformed into Norfolk police's new training centre. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

The sound of rapid-fire gunshots had led to speculation on social media from neighbouring households in Hethersett.

On the Hethersett Facebook forum, one person said it was “a bit unnerving” hearing it while in the playground at school with children running around.

Student officers taking part in a drugs stop and search training exercise in Dereham. Norfolk police is opening a new training centre in Hethersett. Picture: Ian BurtStudent officers taking part in a drugs stop and search training exercise in Dereham. Norfolk police is opening a new training centre in Hethersett. Picture: Ian Burt

MORE: Former school to be transformed into ‘first class’ police training centre

Another poster said: “Sounds like automatic gun fire to me. If it’s coming from the police training complex at the Old Hall School, it’s probably something we are going to have to get used to.”

The Grade II listed former boarding school is set in 15 acres of grounds and after going into liquidation last year was purchased for £3.35m earlier this year as a training centre for Norfolk’s next generation of police recruits.

More than 600 officers are expected to join in the next three years, and existing facilities have been deemed insufficient to cope with the impending demand.

Announcing the plans in March, Simon Bailey, chief constable at Norfolk Constabulary, said: “We looked at Old Hall School and its infrastructure and saw a fabulous opportunity to develop the estate into what I hope will become a centre of excellence for training.”

Firearms training has previously taken place at Norfolk Constabulary’s headquarters in Wymondham.

In March figures revealed that armed police officers in Norfolk and Suffolk had shot their guns nearly 200 times in the last five years, but had not injured or killed anyone.


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