Armed police dramatically swooped on Uttoxeter's main car park last night after reports young men were brandishing guns.
A specialist weapons unit arrived at the Maltings at around 6pm on Tuesday, August 15, to confront the youths.
Officers had been told the suspects were pointing firearms out of their parked cars' windows.
It turned out the weapon witnesses saw was a BB gun, which was surrendered to officers and subsequently destroyed.
An eye witness, who asked not to be named, said: "They made their way across the car park and then surrounded one or two cars that were parked up.
"It was the kind of people who sit and chat in their cars and generally don't do much until they speed off with their loud exhausts.
"They came over and spoke to a couple of the lads, obviously they were asking after what they were doing, and had a quick look through one of the cars.
"Then another car came around the corner and an unmarked car pulled the driver over and asked him to get out.
"That's when they did a quick search and found what looked like an imitation firearm - they seemed to know what they were looking for because the police crews were armed and there was enough of them.
"It was a bit interesting when they surrounded us and I wasn't sure if I was going to be next to be searched."
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "We responded to a report from a member of the public that the occupants of two cars were pointing guns out of the car windows.
"This was at the Maltings car park in Uttoxeter just after 6pm on August 16.
"An 18-year-old man was arrested and released without charge.
"A second man, aged 20, was interviewed and surrendered a BB gun to be destroyed."