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Online Retail Sales Contributing to Presence of Illegal Firearms in UK

The ease with which an online shopper can buy and ship packages online is helping criminals in the UK gain access to firearms, according to a recent article in the Guardian. Legitimate parcels containing e-commerce orders serve as camouflage for smuggled packages containing disassembled guns and ammunition. Once these weapons arrive in Britain, officials worry they could fall within the reach of terrorists.

Weapons have long been difficult to come by in the UK, which is known for its stringent firearms policies. Dave Thompson, chief constable of West Midlands police and Britain’s national lead for countering firearms, told the Guardian that police have cracked down even more on the sale of weapons in the wake of the Paris attacks. In a protective measure, Thompson’s force and others have increased the number of armed officers on the streets. However, Thompson warns that officers must also be aware of tactics used by criminals (and potential terrorists) to avoid detection – such as the shipment of weapons and ammunition through the postal system.

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