Paris attacks: Almost 800 pump-action shotguns seized by Italian police on way to Belgium, Germany and Holland

It came as German police investigated a man who sold Kalashnikovs to a buyer in Paris this month

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The Independent Online

A shipment of almost 800 shotguns has been seized on the way from Turkey to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany amid heightened security checks following the Paris attacks.

Italian police discovered 781 Winchester rifles packed in individual boxes in a lorry that arrived on a ferry in the port city of Trieste on Tuesday.

Footage showed officers climbing into the vehicle and opening branded cardboard boxes to reveal new pump-action shotguns.


The Guardia di Finanza in Trieste found almost 800 Winchester shotguns in the back of a lorry

A spokesperson for the Financial Guard, Italy’s smuggling authority, said they were all from the Winchester SXP range. 

The weapons manufacturer’s website boasts that the guns can “deliver three shots in a half second…the fastest in the world for follow-up shots.” 

The Dutch-registered lorry was being driven by an unnamed Turkish man and prosecutors are investigating possible charges.

Although customs rules were not broken, police said the driver did not have licences required to transport the weapons and the Turkish manufacturer was reportedly accused of breaching national security regulations.

Security checks at Italy’s borders and ports have been increased since the Paris attacks and police said that weapons shipments must be authorised by the responsible judicial authority.

At a meeting in Brussels last week, EU ministers agreed to tighten security and share more information about the gun trade to prevent trafficking of illegal weapons.

While Belgium remains under increased scrutiny as the home for several of the Isis militants who massacred 130 people in Paris two weeks ago, it also retains a historical reputation as a hotspot for the arms trade, both legal and illegal.

Police in Germany are investigating whether an arms dealer arrested in an unrelated investigation may have sold the extremists Kalashnikovs used in the atrocity.

The 24-year-old man is being questioned after detectives discovered he had sold four of the assault rifles to an unidentified buyer in Paris earlier this month.