A vast European operation aimed in particular at alarm pistols has been carried out. More than 700 firearms have been seized and 74 people arrested in the United Kingdom, the British National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Sunday.
These arrests and seizures are part of an international investigation that began five years ago and involves the Spanish Guardia Civil, Europol and the authorities of other European countries, the NCA said in a statement, adding that the operation continues. This operation is aimed in particular at alarm or blank pistols, but which can be modified to become lethal weapons.
Weapon banned in the UK
“Each of these 700 firearms could have fallen into the wrong hands and been used by criminals in their illegal actions or worse, to take lives,” said Charles Yates, deputy director of the NCA quoted in the press release. . Although these blank weapons are authorized in several European countries, it is prohibited to import and possess them in the United Kingdom.
“Criminals like these guns because they are inexpensive, look like firearms like glocks and can therefore be used to threaten others, and can also be modified to become lethal weapons,” the NCA adds. The majority of weapons seized were at UK borders before they could be used, she added.
“A problem that concerns the security of all European countries”
“These types of weapons are particularly worrying in countries like the UK, where more than 40% of firearms implicated in crime are initially non-lethal weapons,” the Guardia Civil said in a separate statement. For this operation, the Spanish Guardia Civil identified suspicious purchases of blank weapons by foreigners, before tracking them down and intercepting these weapons.
“Firearms trafficking is a problem that affects the security of all European countries, and that is why international cooperation is essential to effectively combat this threat,” said General Valentin Diaz, head of the intelligence (UCE3) within the Guardia Civil, quoted in the press release. The NCA also welcomes a change in Spanish law that prevents the sale of these weapons to foreigners and strengthens controls on these sales.