REGIONAL: Handguns and grenades seized as police raid lorry

Guns discovered in the raid. Picture: NCA
Guns discovered in the raid. Picture: NCA
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FIVE handguns and three grenades were seized as police stormed a lorry in West Sussex.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and officers from Sussex Police moved in on a vehicle at the Rosier Business Park in Billingshurst at about midday yesterday.

Grenades discovered in the raid. Picture: NCA

Grenades discovered in the raid. Picture: NCA

They arrested the lorry’s driver – a man in his 40s from the Brighton area – on suspicion of importing firearms and explosives.

In an inspection, two plastic cases containing five handguns, three hand grenades and several dozen rounds of ammunition were found stuck to the bottom of the vehicle with magnets.

Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) teams were called in after the find and a 100m exclusion zone was set up, but it has now been lifted.

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.’

The lorry driver is being questioned by the NCA.