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ILLEGAL FIREARMS: Biggest ever seizure of smuggled handguns at a UK port sees man from Ireland charg

DEADLY: Nineteen of the guns lined up after the seizure

SIXTY illegal firearms have been seized in a car at the Port of Dover in what is believed to be the biggest seizure of its kind ever in the UK.

An investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) was launched after Border Force stopped a Volkswagen Passat arriving at the Port from Calais, France, yesterday.

An NCA spokesman said: "An initial search recovered a Sig Sauer P226 blank firing handgun, with a barrel converted to fire live ammunition in the car’s rear-left quarter panel."

The NCA then took on the investigation.

The spokesman added: "Subsequent searches by specialist deep-rummage teams unearthed another 59 firearms concealed deeply inside the car’s bumper and both rear quarter panels.

"The find is believed to be largest seizure of lethal purpose weapons at a port in the UK."

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

Andrea Wilson, NCA head of regional investigations south, said: “This is a major achievement. The NCA and Border Force have removed a huge haul of lethal firearms and will have made a significant impact on the organised crime group responsible for this attempted importation.

CONVERTED: This Sig Sauer P226 blank firing gun was converted to fire live rounds

“Our investigation into the seizure is ongoing but 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.

“The NCA works internationally to halt the flow of guns trafficked to the UK and Border Force is a vital partner in this work to protect the nation."

HIDDEN: The packaged guns can be seen hidden in the boot area of the car

Nick Drinkal, regional director, Border Force south east & 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.”

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