The public has leapt to the defence of armed police officers who were filmed walking around a local branch of Tesco over the weekend.

Yesterday (May 31), The Chronicle featured a video filmed by a shopper who said he was ‘outraged’ to see two officers with guns strapped to themselves in the Helsby supermarket.

Cheshire Police explained that the officers were part of the force's Alliance Armed Policing arrangements with North Wales Police, and carried a side arm with them at all times when on duty.

Hundreds of people took to social media to back the police, saying they felt reassured rather than outraged to see them carrying weapons.

Related story: Watch armed police officers walking around Tesco

Sarah Ann Fallon wrote on The Chronicle's Facebook page: “I think it’s a good thing. Most countries have armed police walking the streets, and the fact they were in Tesco, maybe they needed a drink with the heat! Some folk seriously need to get a grip, I would much prefer to see armed police than idiots waving a gun round.”

Simon Thurston said: “I’m sorry but it’s not ‘Orwellian’ for officers to carry firearms and it’s a sad indictment that officers are being outcast because of a few individuals who are out of touch with society. It is a reality of budget cuts that police officers don’t have canteens anymore and are forced to buy and eat food in their vehicle.”

Ashley Irene Jones added: “Oh really, what’s the problem? I would rather them be armed than not. Look at the the high risk situations that the police couldn’t do anything because they were not armed.”

The Chronicle did not escape criticism either for highlighting the video, which appeared on YouTube and Facebook.

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“I think your pointless article is a load of drivel,” wrote Simon Massam. “Police officers are allowed to have breaks, these particular officers are trained and authorised firearms officers. They must keep at least their sidearms with them at all times.”

George Pickford said: “What a pathetic story to publish. Do the public want protecting from the ever growing threat of terrorism? Yes! So allow police and other security services to do their job.”

Superintendent Martin Cleworth of Cheshire Police confirmed that firearms officers routinely carry side arms with them while on duty, including whenever they may pop into a local supermarket to collect refreshments.

“This is our standard operating procedure that has been in place for some time,” he said.