ARMED police swooped on an innocent couple in a Lidl car park and held them at gunpoint.

Jamie Cole-McCue, 44 spoke of his “total shock” when officers surrounded his car and levelled what he thought were machine guns at him and his girlfriend.

He said the armed response officers forced him to the ground yesterday morning outside the supermarket in Arundel Road, Brighton, believing he had a firearm in his car.

Mr Cole-McCue had pulled over to look after his diabetic girlfriend Lisa May who was suffering from low blood sugar.

He went into the supermarket to buy eggs and bacon while she recovered in their Ford Kuga.

He said: “I came out of Lidl and two female police officers were looking at me a bit dodgy. As we drove out two police cars rushed at us.

“About four officers armed with guns charged out and surrounded the car on either side. They pointed the guns at our heads and screamed ‘stop the car or we’ll shoot’.

The Argus: Armed police at the sceneArmed police at the scene

“They pulled me out of the car, knocked me to the floor so my belly was on the ground and cuffed me. All the time their guns were pointed at my head. I’d done nothing wrong. I’m still in total shock.”

Mr Cole-McCue, who lives in Brighton, said the officers searched the car for guns – but found only the couple’s two poodles in the back.

The Argus: Mr Cole-McCue and the two poodlesMr Cole-McCue and the two poodles

Ms May, 52, said: “I was just screaming ‘we’re innocent, we’re innocent’. I was in tears. I’ve got six children. I’ve not seen anything like this even on TV. The guns were so close we were almost nose to nose with them.

“It was quite a heavy response for a lady and man with two poodles in a Lidl car park. Jamie was really badly hurt. After it all died down, we noticed he was bleeding.”

Mr Cole-McCue has been recovering from surgery after a motorbike accident.

He said the police’s rough response damaged his already injured arm.

Graphic photographs show a pin from the operation protruding from the skin and cuts on his wrists, which he said came from the handcuffs.

Ms May said: “I was shouting to them ‘please don’t pull his arm. He’s had surgery’.

“At the time he needed a complex, 23-hour operation that had never been done before. He couldn’t hold a gun if he tried.”

The Argus: The coupleThe couple

The couple believe someone wrongly referred them to the police.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Information was received that a man in a car may have been in possession of a firearm, and officers responded accordingly.

“In order to reduce the risk to the public and ensure the safety of officers, authorisation was given to stop the vehicle and detain the suspect.

“No offences were identified and the man was released shortly afterwards.”

The force said it would not be issuing an apology.