Twenty Two Automatic Assault Rifles Amongst Weapons Importation Operation

The National Crime Agency seized 22 automatic assault rifles, 9 Skorpion machine pistols, 58 magazines, 2 silencers and around 1000 live rounds of ammunition in an operation targeting the importation of firearms.

Eight people – seven men and a woman – were arrested as a result of the operation on Tuesday, 11 August. Seven of those have now been charged.

The weapons were found in holdalls and a suitcase, which also contained numerous magazines and ammunition, from a van as it left Cuxton Marina. It followed the arrival of the MV Albernina, a motor cruiser, which had travelled to the UK from France. The operation to track the vessel involved the NCA working closely with Border Force and the National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC).

Deputy Director Graham Gardner from the NCA said: "This was an extremely significant seizure, the largest of its kind in the UK. I've no doubt that these weapons would have ended up in criminal hands and it goes without saying the risk they would have posed to the public.

"We are still in the early stages of a significant investigation which will continue for some time. Through the excellent work and action taken alongside Kent Police we have made a huge step in protecting the public in Kent and further afield."

The seven have been remanded in custody and are expected to appear via video link at Medway Magistrates Court tomorrow, Friday 14 August.

A 28-year-old man from Swanley has been released on bail pending further enquiries until 24 September.


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