3D printer gun factory discovered by police in Manchester
By Andy Wells/Published 25th October 2013
POLICE believe they have uncovered Britain’s first 3D printed gun factory in Manchester.
Gun parts and a 3D printer were found after Greater Manchester Police (GMP) executed a series of warrants in Bagley yesterday.
They believe the gun parts represent the “next generation” of firearms, which can be created by gangsters in the privacy of their own homes and smuggled with ease due to the fact they can avoid X-ray detection.
Police found what is suspected to be a 3D plastic magazine and trigger which could be fitted together to make a viable 3D gun.
The parts are now being examined by firearms specialists to establish if they could construct a genuine gun that could be used for crime.
Detective Inspector Chris Mossop, of Challenger’s Organised Crime Coordination Unit, said: “This is a really significant discovery for Greater Manchester Police.
“If what we have seized is proven to be viable components capable of constructing a genuine firearm, then it demonstrates that organised crime groups are acquiring technology that can be bought on the high street to produce the next generation of weapons.
“In theory, the technology essentially allows offenders to produce their own guns in the privacy of their own home, which they can then supply to the criminal gangs who are causing such misery in our communities.
“Because they are also plastic and can avoid X-ray detection, it makes them easy to conceal and smuggle.”
He added: “These could be the next generation of firearms and a lot more work needs to be done to understand the technology and the scale of the problem.
“If what we have seized today can, as we suspect, be used to make a genuine firearm then today will be an important milestone in the fight against this next generation of homemade weapons.
“I would strongly urge anyone who has information about the whereabouts of a gun in their community to call us.”
A man has been arrested on suspicion of making gunpowder and remains in custody for questioning.
The controversial technology works by allowing anyone who has a 3D printer – which can be bought on the high street for as little as £1,200 – to download designs for guns or components.
The printers themselves squirt molten plastic to produce 3D shapes of whatever design has been downloaded.
The model parts can then be converted to become a genuine firearm capable of firing bullets.