Topic: Latest FWS News

Assault Rifles Smugglers Trial begins

Assault Rifles and Sub-Machine Guns were among items at the trial yesterday of failed UK gun smugglers who brought a total of 31 illegal weapons into the UK. The automatic weapons, originally from Eastern Europe, were purchased at what were reportedly “shockingly low” prices. The smugglers also attempted to bring a large amount of ammunition into the country.

The assault rifles and SMGs had originally been deactivated but were converted back to working condition before being loaded onto a small pleasure boat in France for transport across the English Channel to the UK. Fortunately, intelligence sources enabled National Crime Agency officers to be waiting for the shipment as the boat arrived in the River Medway south east of London.

The on-going problem of gun smuggling, however, remains serious with large numbers of weapons available on the European mainland. The main concern is automatic weapons such as assault rifles and sub machine guns / pistols. This month the Manchester Evening News reported on a statement from Dave Thompson, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, who said that weapons and gun components were arriving in the UK via postal and courier services alongside legitimate internet deliveries.

There has always been a risk of weapons filtering into the country through quiet ports and non-passenger terminals, but the surge in postal and courier traffic with the growth of the internet adds a new element which makes the work of police even more difficult, particularly at a time when resources are under pressure. Guns are still relatively difficult to acquire in the UK, so criminals are constantly seeking new ways of bringing in weapons.

Recent shootings in Paris have highlighted the risk of weapons on the street and according to Thompson are a ‘game changer’ for counter terrorism chiefs as it means that more highly trained armed police are urgently needed on the ground to provide a fast response to any similar incident rather than having to await the arrival of special forces type units who might well be too late to deal with such a terrorist attack.

Assault Rifles

Part of the weapon haul.
Photo National Crime Agency


New Exhibition of Metropolitan Police Crime Artefacts

London’s Metropolitan Police Service is to allow some of the artefacts from famous crimes which it has gathered over the years to go on public display for the first time. The force’s private Museum of Crime houses items used by many of the country’s most unpleasant and notorious criminals. This includes the Handgun used by the Kray’s in their attempted murder of Jack ‘the Hat’ McVitie in 1967.

Other exhibits at the Museum of Crime are considerably more disturbing and are not going to be included in the new exhibition at the Museum of London.  These items include equipment used by the criminally insane Dr Hawley Crippen and Dennis Nilsen.

The Museum of Crime is a unique institution was established in 1875 consisting of items recovered from crimes. The original idea of the Museum was to give police officers practical instruction on how to detect and prevent burglary. Since then it’s role enlarged and became an integral part of CID training. Today it is used as a lecture theatre for the curator to address police officers and staff.

The new exhibition The Crime Museum Uncovered runs from 9th October 2015 – 10th April 2016.


Surprising Neighbours

Above: Sten Submachine gun.
Photo courtesy of Imperial War Museum

A story appeared in the Daily Mail last week about Eileen Burgoyne of Twickenham who appeared to be a typical shy and retiring pensioner living quietly in a suburban street. Following her death at the age of 99, however, builders working on her former home found a stash of weapons and ammunition including a 9mm Sten submachine gun, causing the area to be cordoned off by police who initially feared a possible explosion from a bomb.

Along with the weapons, documents and other items were found which indicated that Miss Burgoyne was working for the Intelligence Services after the Second World War and among her roles was a job assisting in the interrogation of prisoners.

Today, there are many other unsung individuals who, after their active service, retire to a quiet life with their neighbours and family entirely unaware of their sacrifices and work behind the scenes for national security during their working lives.


Colt Defense files for bankruptcy

Colt_logo_defenseColt Defense has encountered financial difficulties following delayed government sales and a difficult trading environment. The company plans to trade through the problems and remains open for business.

Colt has been in trouble before according to Bloomberg.com. In 1842 the first plant was closed after sales slumped, but Samuel Colt designed a powerful new revolver and went on to become one of the 10 wealthiest businessmen in the US.

Colt is, of course, responsible for the classic Colt .45 revolver as well as some of the most iconic modern weapons including the original M16 (a design it purchased from ArmaLite) and later the M4 Carbine.


G36 future with Bundeswehr in doubt, H&K defend the weapon’s performance


The future of the German military service rifle, the G36 was cast into doubt by German Defence Minister Ursula von de Leyen on 22nd April – who stated that the ubiquitous rifle in its current state “has no future in the Bunderswehr”.

Janes.com reports that technical evaluation tests by the Bundeswehr’s Technical Centre for Weapons & Ammunition, demonstrated that the G36 failed to meet accuracy targets owing to overheating. It was claimed that the same tests carried out on other unspecified weapons showed that it is possible to meet the requirements set down.

The Federal Ministry of Defence is now to carry out further technical study on the G36 to evaluate the weapon’s use in Afghanistan.

Heckler & Koch, meanwhile, on their website offer a staunch defence of both the company and the weapon. H&K points out that they were first aware of any alleged problems with the weapon after receiving enquiries from the press about the testing and that the company had not been asked to contribute to the investigation. H&K state that the German Armed Forces have not communicated with them for some six months regarding the accuracy issues which they state would have enabled them to correct and clarify the issues reported.

H&K point out that their own tests and research following the reports of accuracy problems starkly contradict the Bundeswehr Technical Centre’s testing results.

The G36 is in use in some 40 countries around the World.