Wales politics

Dinas Powys gun arsenal found in flat

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Media captionSimon Berni tells Matt Murray how he uncovered more than 30 shotguns, pistols and ammunition

A haul of shotguns, pistols and ammunition has been found hidden in a false wall and a storage heater during the renovation of a flat in Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan.

More than 30 items were found, some wrapped in newspaper dated March 1996, which was just after the Dunblane Primary School massacre in Stirling.

Legislation was introduced after the massacre banning ownership and possession of handguns.

Police are investigating the discovery.

Simon Berni uncovered the arsenal while renovating the property for his uncle.

It is understood that the weapons had been left undiscovered since 1996, and neighbours believe they could have belonged to a previous owner's son, who died several years ago.

Mr Berni said he first discovered a number of handguns and ammunition behind a wall storage heater.

"It wasn't quite right, it didn't look quite right. So obviously I took it apart," he said.

"There weren't any bricks left inside but a lot of shotgun barrels and bits and pieces to do with guns, some hand guns, all wrapped in grease-proof paper, all greased the guns were and then surrounded by the newspaper dating back to 1996."

The newspaper was dated a few days after the Dunblane massacre when a gunman shot dead 16 children and an adult before killing himself.

False wall

A week later, Mr Berni found another 12 shotguns, two hand guns and ammunition packed tightly and neatly onto eight shelves hidden behind a false wall.

Image caption The gun haul included more than 30 weapons and 250 intact bullets

He took away a plank of wood which was screwed onto the wall "and low and behold I could see the same thing again," he said.

"It was full, absolutely choc-a-bloc - eight shelves of fire arms and ammunition."

The firearms ranged from a pistol from the 1930s to a pump-action shotgun. Around 250 intact bullets were also found.

Mr Berni said he believes the guns belonged to somebody who "knew what they were doing" as they were all greased and "beautifully wrapped up".

Of the haul, he added: "The shock kicks in when you look at it, when it's laid out."

Sniffer dogs

After the second discovery, Mr Berni was not allowed back in the flat until police had thoroughly searched it.

They brought in sniffer dogs and telescopic cameras over a number if days, even searching the attic.

No more guns were found and the arsenal has now been removed by police.

South Wales Police said: "Police in Barry are investigating the discovery of up to 30 old firearms at a property under renovation in Dinas Powys.

"The weapons have been removed safely by trained police officers.

"It is believed that they have remained undiscovered for several years having been concealed by a previous owner of the property."

Martin Bale, a registered firearms dealer in Cardiff, said some gun owners did not register their weapons following the introduction of tighter legislation in the 1990s.

"Therefore they were illegal and they were frightened of being found with them, so they hid them," he said.

"And this may well be the case here."

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