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19 October 2010, 16:33 | Updated: 19 October 2010, 16:38
A Latvian man, who now lives in Cambridgeshire, has been jailed for trying to smuggle ammunition and a pistol into the UK.
Henrijs Rudups [pictured - right], who is 38 and from St John's Chase in March, pleaded guilty to a charge of illegally importing ammunition when he appeared in court earlier.
He was stopped by officers from the UK Border Agency at the Port of Dover in October last year.
He arrived there on a car ferry from Calais.
Asked if he was carrying anything illegal, Rudups freely produced a box from under his seat which contained a blank firing pistol and two rounds of CN Mace gas cartridges.
The cartridges release a choking, noxious gas on impact.
In interview, Rudups said that he had bought the gun and ammunition from a friend two weeks before travelling to the UK, where he intended to look for work.
He said he was afraid that he would be attacked travelling through Poland and had made his purchases for self-defence.
He claimed he had no idea that he could not bring them into the UK.
Malcolm Bragg, UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Assistant Director for the UK Border Agency, Border Force South, said:"I do not doubt Rudups when he says he did not realise he was breaking the law, but ignorance is simply not an excuse.
We do not want these kinds of weapons on our streets.
The UK Border Agency is determined to protect society from activity which can have such a destructive impact on local communities as well as individuals.
Today’s conviction sends out the clear message that anyone caught attempting to smuggle prohibited weapons into the UK will lose their freedom."