Essex

Men arrested over AR-15 type 'deadly weapon haul'

Guns Image copyright NCA
Image caption The AR-15 type assault rifle (bottom) was used in recent mass shootings in the United States

Two men have been arrested over an attempt to import a "deadly haul of firearms" similar to those used in mass shootings in the United States.

The weapons, including two AR-15 type assault rifles and four handguns, were found by Border Force officers at Dover in April, hidden in the floor of a van.

That kind of rifle was used in recent shootings at a Florida school and music festival in Las Vegas.

The men, from Essex, were held on suspicion of importation offences.

The pair, both 31 and from the Basildon area, were arrested after warrants at five locations in Essex were executed by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Houses were also searched and "several thousand pounds in cash" was recovered, the NCA said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nearly 60 people were killed when a gunman fired at concertgoers in Las Vegas last year

The firearms were hidden in a special compartment in the floor of a Peugeot van being brought into the country on the back of a flat-bed truck.

Paul Morgan, from the Border Force, said the compartment could only be opened electronically, "altered with the sole purpose of smuggling in mind".

The 66-year-old driver, from Grays, Essex, was arrested on suspicion of firearms importation and was later released while inquiries continue.

In February, 17 people were killed when a gunman, using an AR-15, opened fire at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

And nearly 60 people died and more than 500 were injured when a gunman shot at concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas last year.

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