ARMED police arrested two men in Downham this morning, during what witnesses describe as an attempted robbery.

Moorside Road was closed in both directions while plain clothes officers apprehended two men, one armed with a loaded gun.

Witnesses say police swooped after an attempted robbery of a security van at around 10.50am.

They describe how they saw police apprehend two bikers – one outside Downham Leisure Centre and another on Moorside Road.

A 52-year-old witness, who does not want to be named, was walking through the car park of the leisure centre as the incident unfolded.

He said: "A police van just crashed straight into the bike.

"There is no way it was an accident.

"Then a load of plain clothes police jumped out and pointed guns at the man on the motorbike.

"He was just sitting on the floor for a while with police pointing their guns at him.

"They were shouting 'armed police', I didn't hear any gunshots."

He added: "They tied up his hands using cable ties."

News Shopper: UPDATE: DOWNHAM: Police incident in Moorside Road

The man, who said he lives nearby, claimed he saw another motorbike had been stopped in Woodside Road.

"I think they were trying to rob something but the police chased them," he explained.

Other onlookers also described how a green unmarked police van knocked a motorcyclist off a bike in the leisure centre car park.

After police had cordoned off the area, officers interviewed the driver of a white Mercedes cash-in-transit security van which was parked in the car park of a Co-Operative store, opposite the leisure centre.

Another man in the Co-operative car park told News Shopper he suspected a third man had escaped from police.

Police have confirmed two middle-aged men were arrested in the "proactive operation" by the Met's Flying Squad.

A spokesman added: "As a result of the operation, armed officers were able to arrest two middle-aged men, one of whom was in possession of a loaded handgun.

"No shots were discharged."

The men are now in custody in a south London police station.