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'Sophisticated' illegal gun factory discovered in UK

Bags of seized ammunition are seen in this photograph released by the National Crime Agency in Hailsham, Britain, August 22, 2018.

Police in the United Kingdom say they have discovered a “sophisticated” illegal gun factory in southern England and made three arrests as part of an inquiry into the criminal production of firearms.

The National Crime Agency (NCA), which specializes in fighting serious and organized crime in the UK, said on Wednesday that the facility in Sussex had disguised as a gearbox repair business.

“NCA investigators have discovered what they believe to be a sophisticated gun factory on an industrial estate in East Sussex,” the agency said on its website.

The agency said the site contained machinery and components suspected to be used to make firearms and ammunition.

Police said the operation to enter the site took place on Saturday, August 18, when officers heard bangs which sounded like gunshots from inside the unit in the town of Hailsham.

Three arrests were made at the site and police officers were forced to use a taser for one of them. The three are due to appear at a court on September 17.

Rob Hickinbottom, head of the National Firearms Threat Center at the NCA, said officers also recovered guns in various stages of production as well as two handguns and ammunition during the operation.

“We have found a range of machinery used in the illegal manufacture of firearms, we have found what we believe to be a number of handguns in various stages of production as well as templates and metal for use in their manufacture,” said Hickinbottom.

The official added that an investigation had been launched into the case with the police from Sussex also involved.

“We suspect that this operation has disrupted a group that would appear to be involved in the criminal production of firearms,” said Hickinbottom,

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