79 Guns Seized At Chunnel Entrance

3 July 2017, 12:29

Gun haul

A massive guns haul has been recovered from a vehicle on the French side of the Channel Tunnel as it prepared to travel into Kent.

Seventy-nine "viable'' weapons were recovered from the trailer of the vehicle stopped at Coquelles on Saturday by Border Force officers.

Two men - have been arrested in connection with the raid, which was part of a joint operation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and detectives from Scotland Yard's organised crime unit.

Graham Gardner, the NCA's deputy director of investigations, said: "Our recent threat assessment highlights that handguns are still commonly favoured by some criminal groups in the UK.

"They may not be the largest firearm, but they are easily concealable and lethal in the hands of anyone prepared to use them.''

Investigations over a number of days indicated that an importation of firearms was imminent over the weekend. This information was shared with Border Force officers based at Coquelles, France, who were able to stop a vehicle before it entered the Channel Tunnel en-route to the UK on Saturday 1 July.

Searches of the vehicle’s trailer revealed a large cache of viable 4mm and 6mm handguns and a quantity of ammunition, all hidden in specially adapted concealments in engine blocks.

Janusz Michek (59), a Polish national, was one of seven occupants of the vehicle and arrested at the scene.

Denis Kolencukov (23), originally from the Czech Republic but living in the UK was arrested as he arrived in Dover from Dunkirk.

They have been charged with knowingly being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition or restriction on a prohibited weapon or ammunition, and conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life or enable another to do so and remanded in custody.

Graham Gardner, NCA Deputy Director of investigations, said: “This joint operation has resulted in a large number of viable firearms being taken out of circulation before they could reach the UK. Whilst we are in the early stages of our investigation, I believe these weapons were intended for criminal use in either London or across the UK and it goes without saying the risk they would have posed to the public.

“Our recent threat assessment highlights that handguns are still commonly favoured by some criminal groups in the UK. They may not be the largest firearm, but they are easily concealable and lethal in the hands of anyone prepared to use them.

“Firearms related crime across the UK poses a significant threat to the public and the NCA are working with partners in the UK and around the world to combat this threat. The involvement of multiple agencies in this operation demonstrates the collective commitment to keeping people safe and maintaining the relative rarity of gun crime in the UK.”


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