UK

Jury sees video in 'guns smuggle' trial

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Media captionThe video shows the arrest of Christopher Owen who has pleaded guilty to a charge of importing 31 automatic weapons to the UK

The jury in the trial of three men and a woman accused of smuggling weapons into the UK has seen a video showing bags being unloaded from a boat.

The video was filmed in August by the National Crime Agency which had been watching a gang for weeks.

The boat had just returned from France and was moored on the River Medway in Kent. The men in the video can be seen struggling with heavy bags.

All four on trial at the Old Bailey deny the charges against them.

They are the gang's alleged ringleader Harry Shilling, 25, from Swanley in Kent, his alleged right-hand man Michael Defraine, 30, from Bexleyheath in Greater London, Jennifer Arthy, 42, from Cuxton in Kent, and John Smale, 58, from Rochester, Kent.

They are on trial for gun smuggling and possessing firearms with intent to endanger life.

The guns - 22 assault rifles similar to AK-47s, and nine Skorpion sub-machine guns - were worth more than £100,000 and were brought into Kent from Boulogne on a 38ft (12m) cruiser, the MV Albernina, on 10 August last year, the jury has heard.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Investigators from the National Crime Agency were filming from the other side of the river

In the video, three men can be seen wearing blue surgical gloves.

It shows the bags being taken away in a white van, and then armed officers from Kent Police swooping on the motor cruiser.

Two men were arrested - Mr Smale and Christopher Owen, 30, from Rochester, who is shirtless in the video. Owen has already pleaded guilty to a charge of importing the guns.

The man who drove the van away, David Payne, 43, from Cuxton, was the captain of the cruiser. He was arrested just after the video was shot and has also pleaded guilty to the illegal importation of firearms.

Another man Richard Rye, 24, from Swanley, has also pleaded guilty to the same charge and was arrested later the same day.

The trial continues.

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