27 October 2017
Two Lithuanian men have been jailed for attempting to smuggle a huge haul of guns, ammunition and silencers into the UK in a specially adapted car.
Border Force officers stopped driver Aivaras Vysniauskas, 33, (above left) and his passenger Gytis Vysniauskas (above right), 46, at Dover on 6 March 2016.
A search of their Peugeot car revealed a purpose built concealment around the transmission housing (below). Inside, officers discovered ten Russian-made Baikal handguns, ten silencers and around 100 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Both men were arrested and the investigation was handed to the National Crime Agency.
In interviews with NCA investigators Aivaras Vysniauskas said he had been living in Great Yarmouth before returning to Lithuania and had bought the car himself. He claimed he had also built the concealment into the car and had put the firearms, silencers and ammunition in there.
Gytis Vysniauskas denied any knowledge of the weapons, however tests later showed that his DNA was on one of the guns.
NCA firearms experts found the guns had been modified to fire 9mm ammunition, the barrels had been threaded to fit a silencer and each gun had had its serial number filed off.
Aivaras admitted importing the firearms at a hearing in April 2016, but Gytis continued to deny involvement. He was found guilty of the same offence on Tuesday 24 October 2017 following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
On Friday 27 October Aivaras was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Gytis got 15 years.
Debbie Cook, Dover operations manager for the NCA, said:
“Aivaras and Gytis Vysniauskas were gun runners working for a criminal network, and our investigation into the wider network around them continues at home and overseas.
“These lethal weapons were destined for the criminal marketplace where they would have had the potential to do untold damage.
“Thankfully, working with Border Force we have managed to stop them reaching the streets of the UK and protected the public.”
Dave Hutchinson, Deputy Director of Border Force South East and Europe, said:
“The smuggling of firearms through our border is a major threat to the safety and security of the UK. This was a sophisticated concealment but these dangerous weapons were stopped from reaching our streets due to the skills and expertise of Border Force officers.
“This case is testament to the tireless work of Border Force, who work 24/7 across our ports and airports to detect and seize dangerous items like these to keep the border secure and our communities safe.
“We will continue working closely with the NCA and other law enforcement partners to ensure criminals like Aivaras Vysniauskas and Gytis Vysniauskas, who seek to profit from the misery of others, are brought to justice.”