National Crime Agency
Firearms and grenades seized following NCA operation in Sussex
Five handguns and three hand grenades have been seized following a National Crime Agency operation in West Sussex.
NCA officers, supported by armed colleagues from Sussex Police, moved in on a lorry on the Rosier Business Park in Billingshurst at around 12 midday today (17 May).
They arrested the lorry driver, a man in his 40s from the Brighton area, on suspicion of the importation of firearms and explosives. He is now being questioned by NCA investigators.
After an initial inspection of the lorry two plastic cases were found stuck to the bottom of the truck with magnets. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) teams were called in, and a 100 metre exclusion zone around the vehicle was set up.
EOD officers safely removed and opened the cases, finding inside five handguns, three hand grenades and several dozen rounds of ammunition.
The exclusion zone around the vehicle has now been lifted, but specialist NCA search officers remain at the scene.
NCA Branch Commander David Norris said:
“This was a significant seizure of weaponry which, in criminal hands, could have caused untold damage.
“Criminal gangs use these types of weapons to bring fear and violence to our streets. We’re committed to doing all we can to stop them, and in seizing these deadly items we have made the public safer.
“I’d like to pay tribute to our colleagues from Sussex Police and the army who played such a crucial role in today’s operation. I’d also like to thank businesses in the vicinity of the Rosier Business Park for their patience in the face of considerable disruption.
“NCA officers remain on the scene and we expect them to be there much of the night. Our investigation into the source and end destination for these weapons continues.”
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