As if our Police and Security Services didn’t have enough to worry about already, then it would seem that some individuals deemed it fit to start making their own guns in an illegal factory, according to reports from the National Crime Agency
On Saturday, officers from the National Crime Agency attended a commercial address on an industrial estate in Hailsham.
The signage outside of the premises gave the impression that the location was being used for repairing gearboxes.
However, as three men left the building, they were confronted by officers and during this confrontation a Taser was used on one of the men.
The Agency has said that two handguns as well as ammunition were found at the location and the three men have apparently been charged with various firearms offences.
The area has been cordoned off, as Scenes of Crime Officers undertake a fingertip search of the premises in order to try and gather as much evidence as possible.
The Agency report that they have found machinery for what they believe to be used for the manufacture of firearms, including a number of handguns which were part-built.
A statement on the NCA’s Website states:
“National Crime Agency investigators have discovered what they believe to be a sophisticated gun factory on an industrial estate in Hailsham, East Sussex.
“On Saturday evening officers from the NCA’s Armed Operations Unit were deployed to Hailsham as part of a live investigation.
“Officers heard loud bangs consistent with gunshots emanating from inside an industrial unit on Diplocks Way.
“The unit was an engineering workshop, with signage outside showing it to be a gearbox repair business.
“As NCA officers moved in three men exited the building and they were immediately arrested.
“One NCA officer had to discharge a taser to affect the arrest of one of the men. Two handguns and a quantity of ammunition were recovered.
“All three men were later charged with offences relating to the possession of firearms and have now been remanded in custody after appearing before a magistrate.
“The area around the industrial unit was then cordoned off, and NCA and Sussex Police officers began a thorough forensic search of the site.
“That search has taken several days, but officers have found what they suspect to be machinery and components used in the criminal manufacture of firearms and ammunition, including a number of handguns in various stages of production, as well as what appears to be templates and metal for use in their fabrication.
Head of the NCA’s National Firearms Threat Centre, Rob Hickinbottom, said:
“Our investigation is continuing, and much of what we have discovered at this location will now be the subject of careful forensic analysis.
“We suspect that this operation has disrupted a group that would appear to be involved in the criminal production of firearms.
“As a result we have prevented a potentially large quantity of weapons from getting onto the black market and into the hands of criminals.
“I would also like to recognise the superb support and assistance we have had from Sussex Police throughout this operation – their contribution to this investigation has been and will continue to be crucial to its success.”
The National Crime Agency (NCA) is a national law enforcement agency established in 2013 as a non-ministerial government department.
It replaces the Serious Organised Crime Agency and absorbed the formerly separate Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) as one of its commands.
It also assumed a number of responsibilities of other law enforcement agencies.
There is no telling just exactly how many lives have potentially been saved by shutting down this operation.