ARMED police chased a suspected gunman past stunned shoppers on a main road.
Along with other specialist officers, they swept Easington Lane as they hunted a man believed to have been walking down South Hetton Road with a gun.
Within minutes, police had swooped on a garage in South Hetton Lane, where there was believed to have been a short stand-off.
Soon after, a man was arrested in connection with the incident, which happened yesterday afternoon.
A worker at Snippersgate Filling Station, where the arrest was made, refused to comment on what happened.
However, he confirmed that no one had been injured and there had been no damage done at the garage.
The sight of armed police shocked people in Easington Lane.
Edith Spencer, 68, who lives in Elemore Lane, said: “I saw a parade of police cars and vans go whizzing by, and I knew something big was going on.
“It’s terrifying to think that someone is just walking round the streets carrying a gun like that.
“I mean, what was he doing and where did he get it from?”
She added: “You here about trouble going on on some of the estates, but not guns. You don’t hear about guns.
“This will scare the life out of some people living round here, I can tell you that.”
Bob Turner, 54, of South View, said: “I heard there was a load of commotion about, but I didn’t know what for.
“This is shocking. There must be something wrong for someone to walk around in daylight with a gun in their hands.”
The 34-year-old man who was arrested is being quizzed by detectives.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “At 4.18pm, police received a report of a man seen with a fire arm on South Hetton Road.
“Police made a search of the local area and a 34-year-old man was arrested at Snippergate Service Station.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 03456 043 043, extension 69191, or independent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.