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Ten years for man caught smuggling gun inside jigsaw puzzle box

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A gun-runner who tried to bring a firearm into the UK disguised in a jigsaw puzzle has been jailed for 10 years.

Andy Rosaria, 33, was caught after arriving at London's Victoria coach station with a bag full of gift-wrapped contraband.

He had tried to avoid the X-ray scanner at the station by attempting to place his hand luggage - containing the gun, ammunition and cocaine - into his larger bag which had already been checked.

Officers noticed Rosaria trying to evade the machines, and requested him to place his smaller bag in the scanner.

He had just got off a coach from the Netherlands.

Prosecutor Michelle Fawcett told Southwark Crown Court the X-ray revealed three parcels, each containing suspicious items.

She continued: "In one of those boxes it looked like the component parts of a handgun.

"In the second box there were items that looked like being the trigger and the handle, as far as the same gun was concerned."

During the same scan on May 27 this year, one of the boxes appeared to be concealing "organic" material, which was later found to be 56.5 grams of cocaine.

When one of the boxes was opened at the scene, it revealed a jigsaw box, wrapped in cellophane, containing a silver bag in which the gun parts were vacuum-packed.

Subsequent analysis of the components revealed the gift-wrapped boxes contained all the parts of a Browning 9mm Parabellum self-loading pistol, and a magazine of 12 live rounds.

When questioned by police, Rosaria said he had been drinking and smoking cannabis before boarding the coach in Amsterdam, when he was approached by a man he had seen around locally.

Ms Fawcett continued: "He agreed to take the bag with the three presents inside. He said he did not know that they contained anything illegal.

"He was just bringing a bag and would be met at Victoria by someone who would collect the bag."

Rosaria claimed he was in the UK to visit his girlfriend in Luton, but refused to provide her details to police.

He later conceded that he acted as a courier and had been offered £1,500 to bring the drugs and gun into the UK.

Sentencing Rosaria to 10 years' imprisonment, Judge Peter Testar said: "This is a semi-automatic gun capable of repeated firing after the first shot and is a military grade pistol.

"It is an aggravating factor that that he was introducing this gun into the criminal community of the UK.

"The prosecution say he was running the drugs, as he was running the gun."

The father-of-three, from the Netherlands, admitted one count each of possessing a prohibited firearm, possession of ammunition, possessing a firearm when prohibited, possession of cannabis, and possession of cocaine with intent to supply.