A weapons factory used to convert blank-firing guns into lethal firearms has been discovered in a raid.
National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators who searched an industrial unit in Merton, south London, discovered an array of tools and machinery, including parts used in the manufacture of weapons, ammunition, and blank firers ready to be converted.
More than a hundred rounds of live ammunition, around a thousand rounds of blank firing ammunition ready for conversion and three potentially functioning converted weapons were also recovered, according to the NCA.
Investigators also found several 3D printing machines suspected of being used to make gun components.
The army bomb squad were called in at one point to ensure the safety of the location after a quantity of suspected explosive powder was found.
Officers from the agency’s armed operations unit had earlier in a car recovered what was believed to be a functioning converted weapon and magazines filled with 9mm ammunition.
The seized weapons are now being assessed and analysed by forensic experts.
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Debbie Palmer-Lawrence of the NCA said: “This was a significant operation which uncovered a suspected firearms conversion factory being used to convert blank-firing weapons into lethal guns.
“We know that these types of weapons are in demand by criminals.
“They are often used in acts of serious violence, as well as being used by crime groups to coerce and intimidate.
“This is why stopping them reaching the streets is a priority for the NCA.”
Evan Girdlestone, 47, from Colliers Wood, has been charged with firearm offences under the Firearms Act in connection with the raid. He was due appear before magistrates in Croydon on Saturday.