By Philip Braund
The largest haul of illegal guns in the UK has been uncovered after a car was stopped at Dover.
Border Force officers halted the Volkswagen Passat as it arrived at the port from Calais.
A preliminary search in the car’s panelling found a Sig Sauer P226 blank firing handgun.
It had been converted to fire live ammunition.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) took over the investigation.
Its “deep-rummage” teams found a further 59 weapons deeply concealed in the car’s bumper and other lining panels.
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.
“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.
“We work 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.
“This seizure is a great example of that partnership working.”
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.”
Robert Keogh, age 37, from Dublin, has been charged with illegally importing firearms and will appear at Margate Magistrates’ Court on Monday 5 August.