In an operation spanning the UK from Scotland to Cornwall police have arrested 10 people and seized as many as 61 illegal firearms. Officers from police 25 forces and regional organised crime units raided numerous addresses on November 7, in an operation coordinated by the UK’s National Crime Agency.
Those arrested were charged with the purchase and importation of illegal Flobert-type pistols and blank-firing weapons purchased online from sellers in eastern Europe and then converted to live firearms in the UK. These types of firearms make up a substantial proportion of the firearms used by criminals. A substantial amount of drugs was also discovered during searches.
Of the 10 arrested, 4 have been charged with firearms offences. One suspect, Nathan Hughes, from Cornwall was found to have buried a dismantled submachine gun (type as yet undisclosed) that was hidden throughout his garden. A man in Peterborough was arrested when 7 firearms were found along with ammunition and drugs.
In a statement from the National Crime Agency, Simon Brough, the NCA’s Firearms Threat Lead officer said:
This operation highlights just how important it is for us to tackle the importation of illegal firearms into the UK. The mere availability of these firearms creates a range of significant risks to the public. Handguns are the most commonly used criminal firearm in the UK. We know they are strongly linked to drug supply and are used by criminal gangs to facilitate their illegal activity, so these types of operations are a key part of our work to reduce serious violence and protect the public.
The level of gun crime in the UK is one of the lowest in the world and strict UK legislation means it’s harder for criminals to access illegal weapons here. But we must continue to identify the supply routes by which illegal firearms enter the UK and collaborate with police forces and international law enforcement agencies to disrupt the criminals gangs using them.
In total the NCA report that they seized “61 firearms, 1000 rounds of ammunition, two crossbows, £2000 in cash, eight Rolex watches and a kilo of cannabis.” They also discovered CS gas cannisters and a number of ‘stun guns’. The weapons pictured above include a number of Turkish blank firing pistols including an EKOL Tuna and a Zoraki M906 blank pistol made by Atak Arms and a Valtron Model 8000 Blank Pistol.