UK Police Raid Illegal Gun Factory

    Hailsham gun factory

    Inside the workshop of an illegal firearms factory in Hailsham recently raided by police (National Crime Agency)

    Police in Sussex, UK, raided a seemingly innocuous factory unit outside the small town of Hailsham. Three men have been arrested in connection with the raid for various firearms offences.

    The factory was officially registered as a gearbox repair business but the plain looking industrial workshop was described by the UK’s National Crime Agency as a ‘sophisticated gun factory’. Police raided the factory on 17th August and three men were arrested trying to flee the building.

    Officers reported hearing what sounded like gunshots inside the workshop suggesting that testing of firearms may have been carried out their too. While it has not been stated what type of firearms were found during the raid in a statement posted on the National Crime Agency’s website it was reported that officers found “machinery and components used in the criminal manufacture of firearms and ammunition, including a number of handguns in various stages of production, as well as what appears to be templates and metal for use in their fabrication.”

    Sadly, the National Crime Agency did not post any photographs of the firearms the illegal factory had been making.

    hailsham factory

    The innocuous looking industrial unit in Hailsham that housed the ‘factory’ (Gareth Fuller/PA)

    The head of the National Crime Agency’s National Firearms Threat Centre, Rob Hickinbottom, told press that:

    Our investigation is continuing, and much of what we have discovered at this location will now be the subject of careful forensic analysis. We suspect that this operation has disrupted a group that would appear to be involved in the criminal production of firearms. As a result we have prevented a potentially large quantity of weapons from getting onto the black market and into the hands of criminals.

    I would also like to recognise the superb support and assistance we have had from Sussex Police throughout this operation – their contribution to this investigation has been and will continue to be crucial to its success.

    The three suspects arrested at the factory have been provisionally charged with possessing a firearm and ammunition without license. They’ll appear in court on 17th September.

    Sources: 1 3

    Matthew Moss

    Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]