Fourteen guns and fake police IDs found in raid on home of Telford man, officers reveal
Fourteen illegal guns plus fake police IDs were found at the home of a Telford man arrested as part of a huge nationwide crackdown.
The raids, carried out by the National Crime Agency – the UK's version of the FBI – have seen more than 100 guns seized and 27 people arrested as part of a drive to seize illegal weapons.
Fresh details about the raid have been released by the NCA, which has said that 14 prohibited firearms and a large amount of ammunition were recovered.
They have also revealed that officers found fake police IDs and the man is currently being investigated for impersonating a police officer. He has since been released on bail.
The NCA said the 27 people arrested had bought illegal blank-firing weapons off the internet. The weapons are legal in some countries but are banned in the UK because they can be easily converted to fire real bullets.
The operation, which was mainly carried out at the beginning of July, was co-ordinated by the NCA and involved police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) throughout the UK, as well as the Spanish National Police (Comisaría General de Información).
Another of those arrested was Richard Hamper, aged 32, from Tile Hill, Coventry. On July 18 he was stopped by NCA armed operations officers and found to be carrying a loaded revolver in a backpack. This weapon was originally blank firing, but had been converted.
He pleaded guilty to possession of a section 5 firearm and possessing class B drugs and was remanded in custody until August 16, when he will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.
Elsewhere across the UK, a 58-year old man from Cambridge was arrested following the discovery of four front-venting blank firers, along with four other prohibited firearms.
Officers from Derby also arrested a 52-year old man for importation of a firearm. They also recovered a quantity of class B drugs, £16,000 in cash and bitcoins, together with evidence of involvement in cyber-crime fraud involving identify theft. He was released under investigation.
The NCA said further arrests have been made in relation to the seizure of class A drugs, possession of cannabis farm paraphernalia, and tasers. Around £25,000 in cash has also been recovered.
The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) is currently co-ordinating a two-week gun surrender – from July 20 until August 4 – where members of the public can hand in firearms or ammunition to police anonymously.
The gun surrender is an amnesty from prosecution at the point of surrender and any firearm including handguns, shotguns, rifles, BB guns, imitations as well as any antique, ex-military weapons or ammunition can be handed in at designated police stations across the UK.
Simon Brough, Firearms Threat Lead at the NCA, said: “This is the second co-ordinated national operation we have run in partnership with forces and ROCUs which targets the online purchase of prohibited firearms. The number of guns seized highlights just how important it is for us to work with overseas partners to close down this vulnerability.
“Collectively we have seized 100 illegal firearms – all of which are capable of inflicting harm. Some of those arrested were also involved with other serious criminality, including drug supply and fraud. These weapons represent a significant part of the European criminal market and these operations assist us in reducing the numbers of guns circulating in the UK.
“Some of those interviewed by officers stated they did not realise the weapons they had purchased were illegal. Whilst that is not an excuse, the NABIS surrender gives people the opportunity to hand in weapons anonymously and I would encourage anyone who has purchased one of these items without realising their legal status to make use of the surrender.
“Gun crime in the UK continues to be relatively low compared to mainland Europe. However, we know that illegal firearms are used in acts of serious violence, as well as being used by crime groups to coerce and intimidate.
“For this reason, suppressing their availability is a priority for the NCA and our law enforcement partners and we will continue to share intelligence and co-ordinate operational activity to reduce the numbers of illegal firearms in the UK."
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