Armed police swooped on a car in Peterborough city centre after a motorist thought he saw someone holding a handgun - but it turned out to be a child with a plastic toy.
Officers with guns were called to the Rivergate area of the city at 1pm after the driver spotted a child.
A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: “We had a call from a motorist who had seen a person in a car brandishing what they believed was a hand gun in Rivergate.
“We stopped the car at 2.10pm in the Rivergate area. It was discovered that there was a 12-year-old child in the back of the car with a toy plastic cap gun.”
On Tuesday at 1.40pm firearms officers were called to Lincoln Road in Peterborough after reports of a sighting of an armed man - but it turned out to be a teenager with a woodwork project, designed to look like a rifle.
The police spokesman said despite the false alarms, residents should report any suspicious activity that gives them concern.
He added: “We would warn anyone who owns a replica or model firearm not to carry it around in public places.
“It can easily be mistaken for a real weapon as happened in this instance, and if we receive a report we have to treat it seriously and respond with firearms officers.
“It also takes up the time of officers who could be deployed to incidents were people are genuinely at risk, or crimes are actually taking place.”