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Police apologise to Harlesden family for mistaking them for looters

PUBLISHED: 12:40 24 August 2011

Delroy Gardner and Leonie Reece with their children Mataiya, 6, Zion, 3 and Rio, 10 months.; Photo by Jonathan Goldberg

Delroy Gardner and Leonie Reece with their children Mataiya, 6, Zion, 3 and Rio, 10 months.; Photo by Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037

Cops marched couple and thre kids into the street couple during 'humiliating' dawn raid

An angry father is calling for an investigation into why his home was mistakenly raided by armed police hunting for looters.

Delroy Gardner, 32, of Helperby Road, Harlesden, claims his family had guns pointed in their faces by the officers who stormed their home in the early hours of August 16.

The youth worker said they were frogmarched into the street in their underwear including his 10-month-old son who is recovering from pneumonia.

They were allowed back into their home after a thorough search failed to find any firearms or stolen goods

On Monday, Chief Superintendent Matthew Gardner, Brent Police borough commander, visited the family and delivered a written apology but Mr Gardner wants a full investigation into why it happened.

He said: “I have many questions that need to be answered.

“The police told me they had a tip-off that I had been looting so had stolen goods in my house, but they should have scrutinised the claims before rushing in and raiding my home in the middle of the night.

“It was a humiliating experience for myself, my partner and my three young children.”

In a further twist, Mr Gardner claims the experience has had a devastating effect on his three-year-old son Zion who he says was ordered out of his bed by an officer who pointed a gun in his face.

He said: “Zion was petrified and now wets himself all the time and has night terrors. An apology won’t be able to mend this overnight.

“We are all shaken by this and even our neighbours are on their guard because they say if a hard-working man like me can be targeted who will be next.

“I’m happy with the apology but it won’t fix things. I want to know why it happened in the first place.”

A Brent Police spokeswoman said: “Chief Supt Gardner and a PCSO from Harlesden Safer Neighbourhood Team visited Mr Gardner and offered an apology both written and verbal.

“They explained that police have a responsibility to act on information which is received regarding criminal activity.”

She added that Harlesden SNT had also visited the area to reassure resident.

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