A loaded shotgun was discovered among a terrifying arsenal of weapons seized from a traveller site in one of Britain’s biggest ever ‘gun crime’ stings.
Hundreds of armed officers tore into a traveller site in Orpington, south-east London, at around 3am on Wednesday morning.
Footage showed more than 30 police vehicles were involved, while specialist anti-terrorism officers and trained dog units also assisted.
Seven people have been arrested, while two people are being supported by specialists from the police’s Modern Slavery Team, say the Metropolitan Police.
Scotland Yard has revealed officers found a loaded shotgun, homemade ammunition and £112,000 in a major haul.
A total of 17 air weapons, including a musket and a BB gun, were also seized by police, along with a machete and CS gas.
A loaded shotgun, homemade ammunition and 17 air weapons were all discovered during the huge raid at a traveller site in south east London in the early hours of Wednesday morning
A number of caravans and quad bikes on the site have been identified as stolen, and around £112,000 in cash and Class A drugs has also been recovered, Met Police announced
Commander Kyle Gordon, the Gold Commander for the operation, said: ‘We have already found a number of weapons and other items of interest following this significant operation, and our searches at the site will continue.
‘A firearm seized by police represents a weapon that is not in the hands of someone who might use it to harm others, and commit crime.
‘Every officer across the Met – from local neighbourhoods teams all the way up to our specialist crime investigators – is focused on bringing those responsible for violence on the streets of London to justice, to keep our communities safe.’
Air weapons seized in the raid are now being tested by Scotland Yard to ensure they have not been enhanced.
A Met Police spokesman explained: ‘Only air weapons that use, or are designed or adapted for use with a self-contained gas cartridge system are prohibited under the Firearms Act.
‘Otherwise, they are legal to buy and own. Owners of air weapons of a certain power need to hold a firearms certificate.’
Seven people were arrested on suspicion of offences including possession with intent to supply drugs, handling stolen goods and burglary while police say they have seized 17 dogs.
One of the seven, a 59-year-old man arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, has been released, with no further action set to be taken.
The rest have been released under investigation, with two facing charges.
A 27-year-old faces a charge of possession of cannabis, while a 30-year-old man arrested on suspicion of burglary has been bailed, but charged with being a prohibited person in possession of an air weapon
Police were seen carrying bags stuffed with cash from the scene of an armed raid on a traveller site in one of the UK’s biggest ever ‘gun crime’ stings
Piles of cash were seen stuffed into evidence bags after hundreds of armed officers tore into the traveller site at 3am on Wednesday in Orpington, south-east London
This is the dramatic moment where hundreds of police officers raided a traveller site in a 3am bust – thought to be one of Britain’s biggest ever gun crime stings
Footage shows the massive police raid at a traveller site in Orpington, south-east London
Seven people have been arrested during the raid, which took place in the early hours of Wednesday
Footage shows police, including armed officers, sweeping the large traveller site in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Elite officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms team were also involved, as well as police dogs and specialist search units.
Police are said to have used drones and stun grenades, also known as flash-bangs, during the raid.
Officer say they used a number of ‘distraction techniques’ used to enter the site.
One woman, who has lived in the area for around 16 years, said police helicopters regularly fly over the area and the traveller site is a regular source of trouble.
The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘Some of them cause trouble and they get visitors coming up and acting tough.
‘A lot of them are nice but a few spoil it for the rest. It’s gotten worse over the years.’
A second neighbour described frequent police activity in the area including what appeared to be a smaller-scale raid roughly two weeks ago.
They said: ‘I saw the meat wagons carrying armed police about two weeks ago and there were road closures that they said was for fly tipping but I think it was surveillance.’
Police officers from the Metropolitan Police were seen around the site in Orpington on Wednesday
Investigators will spend around two days searching the site, following intelligence about where guns might be hidden
A line of police vehicles was seen near to the 22-pitch traveller site, in Star Lane, south-east London
Police search teams were seen scouring the area throughout Wednesday. They are expected to carry out searches tomorrow as well
An aerial view of the raveller site on Star Lane in Orpington, where police raided in the early hours of Wednesday
Investigators have spent two days searching the 22-pitch site, on Star Lane, near Orpington, following intelligence about where guns might be hidden.
Commander Gordon said: ‘Tackling violent crime remains the Met’s top priority and our efforts to prevent serious harm and loss of life on the streets of London have not wavered, including over the last few challenging months.
‘This operation clearly demonstrates that every officer – from local neighbourhood teams all the way up to our specialist crime investigators – is focused on bringing those responsible for violence and organised criminality on the streets of London to justice, to keep our communities safe.
‘This case was led by local neighbourhood officers in response to local issues, and its success would not have been possible without the support of partners and communities.
‘This operation has targeted serious and organised crime head on, and will mean the surrounding communities are now safer for those living within them.
‘Over recent months we have seen an increase in the number of firearms incidents across London and proactive operations like this are crucial to removing the availability of weapons and drugs on the streets.
‘We have now seized dozens of lethal firearms and prevented them entering the hands of dangerous individuals.’
Speaking on Wednesday, Superintendent Andy Brittain, from the Met Police’s South Area Basic Command Unit, added: ‘We’ve been listening to the concerns of the local community and I hope that today’s activity shows how seriously we take your concerns and that we do act upon them.
Footage shows police, including armed officers, sweeping the large traveller site in the early hours of Wednesday morning
Elite officers from counter-terrorism units in the capital were also involved, while police are said to have used stun grenades, also known as flash-bangs, during the raid
Meanwhile detailed searches of the site took place on Wednesday following the early morning raid
Commander Gordon said: ‘Tackling violent crime remains the Met’s top priority and our efforts to prevent serious harm and loss of life on the streets of London have not wavered.’ Pictured: Police at the scene
‘This is a prime example of why we rely on intelligence and information so much from our communities. It helps us keep your streets safe.
‘Local residents may see an enhanced police presence over the next few days and possibly some road closures whilst we carry out or searches.
‘We are working with the local authorities to look after the safeguarding of residents and children that may be temporarily displaced whilst we do these searches.’
Earlier this year Britain’s biggest ever crime bust captured 746 crooked kingpins and foiled hundred of plots after raids by every UK police force, with £54 million of dirty cash, two tonnes of drugs and 77 firearms seized after an impenetrable phone network was smashed.
A sting spanning the globe saw scores of raids carried out across the country in a major move in the battle against drugs, guns and illegal activity. During the two-month operation officers seized the illegal cash along with firearms including hand grenade and machine guns.
But it was only made possible after the National Crime Agency and European forces managed to get inside a formerly secure phone system called EncroChat in an operation dubbed Operation Venetic.
BIRMINGHAM: The haul from the nationwide sting found £54million in cash among drugs and guns
It is a messaging system, which is similar to WhatsApp, and is only pre-loaded onto special phones which have to be specially bought.
Criminals paid £1,500 for a six month contract to use them and could send a ‘kill code text’ which wiped everything on the customised Android handset.
Experts in France and the Netherlands infiltrated the illegal communication network, which helped them understand what crimes gangs were planning, like in TV hit The Wire.
In the show one of the police officers built up cases against crooks by using a device called the Triggerfish, which collected data from their phones.
In the real world, investigators found 60,000 users worldwide and around 10,000 users in the UK alone on EncroChat – the sole use was for coordinating and planning the distribution of drugs, guns, dirty cash, money laundering and plots to kill rival criminals.
It was a treasure trove of evidence as top level criminals could be monitored speaking freely about their operations and plans, thinking their network could never be cracked.