More than 800 guns seized in police exercise

Police have seized more than 800 potentially lethal weapons during a month-long operation designed to prevent terrorists and criminals gaining access to illegal firearms.

As part of an intensive initiative led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and National Counter Terrorism Policing (NCTP), officers across the UK seized 833 firearms - nearly half of which are viable with hundreds still being assessed. Handguns and shotguns were the predominant firearms seized, although a fully-loaded AK74 assault rifle and a Skorpion submachine gun were confiscated.

The operation, which began in October 2016, also recovered 4,385 rounds of ammunition and over 100 additional potential weapons such as knives. Other confiscations also presented 80kgs of illegal drugs and more than £500,000.

Chris McKeogh, deputy director at the NCA, said: “The surge of activity across the whole of the UK has yielded significant results – from the seizure of illegally held firearms and ammunition, to the number of reports we received from members of the public via Crimestoppers.

“Gaining the confidence of the public to come forward with information about illegal firearms is key to any campaign and I would like to thank all those who had the courage to speak up. As a direct result of your call or report, we are able to protect the public and reduce the risk posed by those with access to illegal firearms. This is not over though. One gun in the wrong hands is too many, so please think hard and if you know something, pick up the phone anonymously”.

Nick Wilcox, detective superintendent of National Counter Terrorism Policing, added: “Counter terrorism officers continue to plan and prepare in light of world events such as the attacks in Paris - but we want to remain on the front-foot and stop terrorists obtaining guns in the first place.

“Low firearms availability is a major advantage in the UK. In many other western countries someone like Muhiddin Mire, the man who attacked innocent passers-by in Leytonstone tube station last year with a knife, could probably have got hold of a firearm and one serious injury could have become tens of deaths. Communities defeat terrorism - our collective safety depends on everyone’s efforts and we need your help to prevent a marauding firearms attack.”

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