RESIDENTS described the scene in a Darlington scene as "a warzone" after an armed man smashed iron weights through widows and sparked a large-scale police operation.

An armed response unit, the police helicopter and dog squad were on the scene at Cartmell Terrace from 11pm last night (Thursday, July 4) where officers were involved in a two-hour stand-off with a man armed with knives.

Neighbours described how the suspect was throwing iron dumbbell weights from the top window and back yard of his own property which then smashed onto cars parked on the street below and through the upstairs windows of two nearby houses.

About 20 officers were involved in the operation to secure the area while negotiators worked to capture the suspect.

The street was cordoned off for about three hours and resident Ryan Griffiths, who filmed the whole incident and handed the footage to the police, said he saw the man stabbing at windows with two knives “like some crazy Charles Bronson”.

He added: “He was threatening to kill the coppers, shouting that he had a gun and that he was going to shoot and stab them and all sorts of things.

“He didn’t have a gun, he was clearly just trying to stall things. He’d done so much damage it was like a warzone down here.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, described how a dumbbell weight came crashing through his bathroom window and landed in the bath shortly after his mother had used the room.

He added: “Then he was kicking our door in, it nearly came off the hinges.”

His mother said: “I was petrified.”

Mark Jenkins lives on Stewart Street to the rear of Cartmell Terrace and had his stairwell window smashed by a flying dumbbell.

He described how the suspect damaged cars and threw crockery, a television, CD player and white paint into the road.

“It was crazy, you could see the red laser dots from the police guns aimed at his house,” said Mr Jenkins.

“It looked like Beirut before we got it all cleared up.”

Detective Constable Dave Ripley said negotiators had to work for almost three-hours to talk the suspect round.

He said: “In the end he gave himself up, nobody was hurt, there was nobody else involved and he came peacefully.”

A 27-year-old man has been arrested for affray and five counts of criminal damage.

He has been bailed to appear at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court later this month and the conditions of his bail mean that he cannot enter Cartmell Terrace in the run up to his court appearance.