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Three men arrested after illegal gun factory uncovered at East Sussex industrial estate

Two handguns and ammunition were found by officers Photo: National Crime Agency

A "sophisticated" illegal gun factory has been discovered on the edge of an East Sussex town, the National Crime Agency said.

On Saturday evening officers from the NCA’s Armed Operations Unit were deployed to Diplocks Way in Hailsham as part of a live investigation.

Investigators found what they believe to be a "large-scale" operation in a warehouse describing itself as a gearbox repair business on an industrial estate.

Credit: Eddie Mitchell

Officers arrested three men found leaving the building and had to use a Taser on one of them, an NCA spokesman said.

Two handguns and ammunition were found.

Credit: National Crime Agency

The site has been cordoned off while investigations continue.

A thorough forensic search of the site has taken several days, but officers have found what they suspect to be machinery and components used in the criminal manufacture of firearms and ammunition.

This included a number of handguns in various stages of production, as well as what appears to be templates and metal for use in their fabrication.

Credit: Eddie Mitchell

Greg Akehurst, 29, of no fixed address, and Mark Kinman, 63, of Bramwell Mews, Hailsham, were both charged with possessing a firearm.

Kyle Wood, 30, of Gratwicke Drive, Littlehampton, was charged with the same offence as well as possessing ammunition.

The trio were remanded in custody and are due to appear at Kingston Crown Court on September 17.

Police have cordoned off the site Credit: Eddie Mitchell

Our investigation is continuing, and much of what we have discovered at this location will now be the subject of careful forensic analysis.

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

“As a result we have prevented a potentially large quantity of weapons from getting onto the black market and into the hands of criminals.

“I would also like to recognise the superb support and assistance we have had from Sussex Police throughout this operation – their contribution to this investigation has been and will continue to be crucial to its success.”

– Rob Hickinbottom, Head of the NCA’s National Firearms Threat Centre