Thirty-seven people have been arrested after the Metropolitan Police seized more than 100 firearms in a crackdown on weapons traded online. Some 700 addresses have been raided over the last four days as officers mounted the UK-wide operation.
In all, 86 handguns, ten rifles, three machine guns, seven shotguns, 13 stun guns and a crossbow were nabbed in Operation Bembridge. Class A drugs were also seized during the raids.
Said Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, Head of the Met's Specialist Crime Directorate: "This is the climax of a long-term intelligence operation where we have identified weaponry purchased over the Internet. I am delighted by its success and the sheer number of firearms, ammunition and other weapons seized will make London a safer city."
The apparent ease to which guns are available online was highlighted this week by a Labour MP who compiled a list of handguns he claims were for sale on internet auction site, eBay.
Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham Hall Green, has called on eBay to pay closer attention to goods for sale on its pages after he was able to buy an air rifle on the auction site last month.
He told the House of Commons: "The other week, it was possible for me to buy a gun from the eBay internet site. The way in which the sellers work is simple. They advertise an empty bag or box. The buyer bids for that bag or box, and when that is done, the seller throws in the gun for free.
"This site is being used to facilitate a trade in illegal weapons," he said in a call for the Home Secretary to take action. ®