Armed police swooped on a west Dorset community after a man armed with a machete approached two boys in a park.

Dozens of officers including firearms teams and the police helicopter were alerted to Beaminster last night after reports of a knifeman in the town.

It prompted a major late-night search of the area. Locals reported a heavy police presence as officers descended on the town.

A man is helping police with enquiries.

The boys, two friends aged 16 and 17, said a man, who was carrying a knife, spoke to them briefly after approaching them at the Memorial Playing Fields.

The boys were not hurt and the man, who did not make any threats, left the scene.

The mother of one of the boys involved has today praised them for the calm way they behaved and called 999. She said she was 'incredibly proud' of how they reacted.

The mother also praised the police for their quick response.

Officers looked after the boys while a search was undertaken.

She said: "Our sons were sat talking in the park when a man approached them carrying a knife. He sat and chatted with them and then left. The boys called the police who arrived quickly. Both boys were shaken but nobody was harmed."

The mother added: "We are incredibly proud of how the boys handled the situation. Thank you to my son's friend for making all the right calls and for looking after my lad in the process. My lad is a bit younger and his friend's strength and maturity in what was a scary situation was fantastic."

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "We were called at 10.55pm on Friday to reports of a man with a machete in the area of Hogshill Street, Beaminster. No injuries were reported.

"Armed officers, assisted by colleagues, attended the area and carried out a search.

"A 28-year-old local man was arrested nearby on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon. He is assisting officers with enquiries."