lethal weapons | 

Man (47) arrested as cops bust ‘factory’ in London that used 3D printers to make gun parts

Officers also found several 3D printing machines suspected of being used to print component parts for converted weapons

Some of the equipment seized by cops

Undated handout photo issued by the National Crime Agency (NCA) of guns, ammunition and firearms seized by the NCA's Armed Operations Unit at an industrial unit linked to Evan Girdlestone, in the Lombard Road area of Merton, south west London. Girdlestone, 47, from Colliers Wood, will appear before magistrates in Croydon, charged with offences under the Firearms Act after he was arrested in Croydon on Thursday morning. Issue date: Saturday May 20, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Guns. Photo credit should read: National Crime Agency/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder. © PA

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A 47-year-old man has been arrested in London after police busted what has been described as “specialist factory” where blank-firing guns were converted into lethal weapons using 3D printed parts.

Evan Girdlestone of Colliers Wood was arrested as part of an intelligence-led operation by officers from the Armed Operations Unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Officers recovered what is believed to be a functioning converted weapon and magazines filled with 9mm ammunition in his car.

This then led investigators to search of an industrial unit linked to Girdlestone in the Lombard Road area of Merton.

There they found an array of tools and machinery, including parts used in the manufacture of weapons and ammo.

They also discovered blank firers ready to be converted, more than a hundred rounds of live ammunition, around a thousand rounds of blank firing ammunition ready to be converted, and three potentially functioning converted weapons.

Officers also found several 3D printing machines suspected of being used to print component parts for converted weapons.

A quantity of suspected explosive powder was also discovered that led to the army’s bomb squad being called in to ensure the safety of the location.

The seized weapons are now being assessed and analysed by forensic experts.

After being questioned by the NCA, Girdlestone was charged with offences under the Firearms Act. He is expected to appear before Croydon magistrates later today.

Debbie Palmer-Lawrence, from the NCA’s Armed Operations Unit, said the “significant operation” had uncovered a suspected firearms conversion factory being used to convert blank-firing weapons into lethal guns.

“We know that these types of weapons are in demand by criminals. They are often used in acts of serious violence, as well as being used by crime groups to coerce and intimidate.

“This is why stopping them reaching the streets is a priority for the NCA.

“Our investigation continues and I’d like to thank Metropolitan Police and military partners for their support throughout the searches.”

Today's Headlines

More World Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos