Sixty guns found hidden in car at Dover is ‘largest seizure at UK port’

‘These weapons would have gone into the hands of seriously dangerous individuals,’ says NCA

Peter Stubley
Sunday 04 August 2019 18:21 BST
The guns, including a converted Sig Sauer P226 handgun, were concealed inside a Volkswagen Passat
The guns, including a converted Sig Sauer P226 handgun, were concealed inside a Volkswagen Passat (NCA)

Sixty guns were found hidden inside a car at Dover in what is believed to be the largest seizure of weapons at a UK port.

Border Force officers made the discovery after stopping a Volkswagen Passat arriving from Calais in France on Friday morning.

Specialist “deep-rummage teams” were called in after a converted Sig Sauer P226 handgun was recovered from the car’s rear-left quarter panel.

They found another 59 firearms, wrapped in plastic, concealed inside the bumper and rear quarter panels.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the find “is believed to be largest seizure of lethal purpose weapons at a port in the UK”.

It is alleged that an organised crime group was behind the attempted importation of the guns, which had been adapted to fire live ammunition.

Robert Keogh, 37, from Dublin, has been charged with illegally importing firearms and will appear at Margate Magistrates’ Court in Kent on Monday.

Nick Drinkal, Border Force regional director for southeast England and Europe said: “This is a significant seizure of lethal firearms that could have reached the hands of criminal gangs operating within the United Kingdom.

“The actions of the officers involved in this event have undoubtedly saved many lives and by doing so has highlighted the vital role Border Force plays, together with our partner agencies, in the fight against organised crime.”

Police-recorded firearms offences in England and Wales have increased over the last five years, rising to 6,684 in the year ending March 2019.

However this is significantly lower than the peak of more than 11,000 offences in 2006 and firearms are used in only four per cent of homicides.

Andrea Wilson, NCA head of regional investigations south, described the gun seizure as a “major achievement” which “will have made a significant impact on the organised crime group responsible for this attempted importation.”

She added: “There’s little doubt that these weapons would have gone on the criminal market and into the hands of seriously dangerous individuals.

“The level of gun crime in the UK is one of the lowest in the world. But these weapons pose massive potential for harm, making their criminal use a priority for the NCA and wider UK law enforcement.”

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