A mother said she is "petrified" for her children’s safety after seeing a man brandishing a gun and hearing shots fired near her home.

Police were called on Wednesday at approximately 11:15pm following a report of a person being seen with a firearm at Aldriche Way in Highams Park.

Officers and specialist firearms officers attended the scene near the entrance to the estate and just yards from a nursery and primary school.

After they arrived, a number of people made off, but one person was stopped and searched. 

However, no weapon was found.

The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous over fears for her safety, said: "It was about 11:30pm on Wednesday and I could arguing, shouting, and glass bottles being smashed.

"There was this car and it had driven around the block three times. Then I saw a man pull out a gun from a carrier bag and cock the gun as if to aim and fire.

"He then put it back inside his jacket. I then heard more screaming and then three gun shots."

A spokeswoman for the police confirmed an area search was conducted to locate the suspects but were unable to trace them.

Three gun shots was heard again on Saturday at around the same time, although police did not attend the scene.

The mother suspects it is gang-related and believes the recent events are a sign of worse things to come. 

She said: "I am scared for my children and I'm petrified they could get hurt. After I heard the shots, I couldn't stop shaking.

"If I could move out tomorrow, I would pack our bags and go."

Police regularly receive complaints about anti-social behaviour and groups congregating in stairwells. 

Conservative councillor Paul Braham, of Hale End and Highams Park, is urging the public to report any incidents.

He said: "Members of the public keeping their eyes peeled and reporting it is one of the most valuable tools the police have.

"We have an extremely good, if not the best team on our patch and they hate anything resembling this type of occurrence.

"As long as people pass on this intelligence, they will act on it."