Essex men arrested after haul of firearms discovered at Dover

Part of the firearms haul which was found by Border Force officers at Dover. Picture: NCA

Part of the firearms haul which was found by Border Force officers at Dover. Picture: NCA - Credit: Archant

Two men from Essex have been arrested after a haul of firearms was discovered by Border Force officers at Dover.

The weapons included two AR-15 assault rifles – of the same type used in recent mass shootings in the USA – as well as four handguns and ammunition.

The deadly haul was found by officers on April 20 and the weapons had been hidden in a van being brought into the UK on the back of a flat-bed truck.

The investigation into the seizure was handed to the National Crime Agency (NCA), who arrested the driver, a 66-year-old man from Grays, Essex, on suspicion of firearms importation. He was later released under investigation.

NCA officers, assisted by Border Force, executed a series of warrants today at five locations in Essex in connection with the seizure.

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Two men, both aged 31 and from the Basildon area, were arrested on suspicion of importation offences.

Darren Herbert, NCA senior investigating officer, said: “In recent weeks we have seen a number of significant firearms seizures at Dover and I would say that is testament to the hard work of the NCA, Border Force and other law enforcement partners who strive to protect the public.

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“We know that one of the types of weapon detected in his particular seizure has devastating firepower, having been used in a number of mass shootings in the United States.

“This makes it all the more important that these weapons are kept out of the hands of violent criminals and off our streets.

“Our investigations continue.”

Paul Morgan, director of Border Force South East and Europe, said: “This was an excellent detection from my officers at Dover.

“The weapons had been hidden in a specially adapted concealment within the floor of a van which could only be opened electronically.

“The vehicle had been altered with the sole purpose of smuggling in mind.

“We work closely with law enforcement partners, like the NCA, and are determined to prevent potentially deadly weapons such as these from reaching the UK’s streets.

“Our work led to the seizure of more than 10,000 offensive weapons last year.”

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