ARMED officers were called after a man threatened to harm himself in a quiet square.

Police were called to Palmeira Square at about 3.30pm today after being called about the man.

Witnesses described seeing a group of four officers moving in to arrest him.

It is understood he has been held by police under the Mental Health Act, but will be passed on to mental health services.

Two unmarked Audi 4x4 vehicles stopped in the square, alongside marked patrol cars.

Passers-by were told to move on while a man was put on the floor and handcuffed, a witness said.

He was first put in the back of a police car, then into a police van. But an ambulance arrived at the scene soon after.

One witness said: “I’m pretty sure the man was in a car, a big armed police car and another car pulled up and jumped out with machine guns and Tasers.

“They put a guy onto the floor and put him in handcuffs from behind. There seemed to be a few packages in the bags.

“After 15 minutes they put him in the the back of the police van. At first the officers definitely had machine guns, but they put them away for Tasers.”

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A resident who lives opposite said: “I was watching a film on my laptop when I heard some commotion outside.

“I looked out of the window and I saw a man being put into the back of a police car.

“We don’t normally get this sort of thing happening, it’s sleepy around here.”

Another witness who was on his way to the nearby Sainsbury’s said he saw the armed police.

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He said “There was a man in handcuffs who was being led into a police van. One of the officers had a side arm.

“The man was about 40-years-old and did not look like he was resisting.”

In a statement, police said: “We were called to a man who was threatening self-harm in Palmeira Square, Hove, at about 3.30pm on Friday.

“The man was detained by police under the mental health act. Ambulance have arrived and he is being passed into the care of health authorities.”