Police have been accused of leaving an 81-year-old grandfather bruised and bloody after mistakenly approaching his house in the early hours of Friday morning.

Pictures of an elderly man covered in dark bruises and wound dressings were shared on Twitter by a woman who said Bedfordshire Police left her grandfather in the cells “confused and bruised trying to defend himself”.

“He was terrified, ill and it took 10 officers/6 vehicles to arrest him. Maybe his heart attack gave him superpowers?” she said.

Bedfordshire Police said officers arrived at a house in the village of Potton around 5am on Friday to investigate reports of a disturbance. It turned out to be the wrong address, the force said.

Officers said that on walking away from the property they were approached in the street by a resident holding a wooden implement of similar size to a rounders bat. After speculation online, they said it was not a walking stick.

The officers called backup and several other units headed to the scene, police said.

But “before further units arrived, an altercation ensued where one of our officers tried to take the wooden implement from the resident, during which she sustained a cut to her face.

“A man in his 80s was arrested on suspicion of assault on an emergency worker.

“He was taken into custody for a brief period and has since been released under investigation, while we assess the evidence,” police said.

Detective Chief Superintendent Julie Henderson of Bedfordshire Police said: “We understand the concerns regarding this incident and are carrying out our own internal review.

“We have also voluntarily referred ourselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for full openness and transparency and to ascertain if there is any learning to be taken forward.

“Over the coming days the welfare of all those involved will be our primary concern.”

An IOPC spokesperson told The Independent: “We can confirm we have received a referral from Bedfordshire Police relating to the arrest of an elderly man in Potton on 2 September.

“We are currently assessing the referral to determine what, if any, action is required from us.”

Bedfordshire Police was one of three English forces to be told in April by a watchdog to improve its investigations into crimes and responding to the public.

The other two forces rebuked by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services were Dorset and West Mercia Police.