July 3, 2017 / 2:36 PM / 3 years ago

British police seize dozens of handguns at Channel Tunnel in biggest ever haul

79 viable firearms seen in this handout image taken July 1, 2017 are seized as part of a joint operation between National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service into the attempted importation of illegal firearms, Britain. National Crime Agency/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. NO SALES

LONDON (Reuters) - British authorities have seized dozens of handguns at a border check on the French side of the Channel Tunnel in the largest such haul on record, police said on Monday.

The 79 guns were hidden along with ammunition inside engine parts on a trailer on the back of a van. Police have charged one man with firearms offences and released without charge six other people, who were with him in the van in the town of Coquelles.

A second man was arrested in the British port of Dover and also charged. Both men appeared in court in London on Monday.

National Crime Agency (NCA) deputy director of investigations, Graham Gardner, said an inquiry had started but the guns were most likely intended for use by criminals in London or elsewhere in the country.

“They are easily concealable and lethal in the hands of anyone prepared to use them,” he said.

The NCA said it had worked with London’s Metropolitan Police on the operation.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Duncan Miriri

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