Two Lithuanian gangsters were jailed yesterday for trying to smuggle a cache of guns into Britain hidden in a secret compartment in their car.
Aivaras Vysniauskas, 33, and Gytis Vysniauskas, 46, were sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison after the haul of Russian weapons were discovered in their specially-adapted Peugeot.
The men, who are not related, were stopped at Dover in March 2016 with a haul containing 10 Baikal handguns, 10 silencers and more than 100 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Police said the guns, which had their serial numbers filed off to prevent identification, could have brought death to the streets of the UK.
Investigators suspect the weapons would have been sold on to underworld figures such organised crime gangs and drug barons.
Aivaras Vysniauskas, 33, and Gytis Vysniauskas, 46, were sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison after the haul of Russian weapons were discovered in their specially-adapted Peugeot
They were stopped at Dover where police discovered 10 Russian-made Baikal handguns (pictured) in their cra with the serial numbers filed off to prevent identification
The men were apprehended by Border Force officers after entering the UK, and the case was then handed to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
A search of their car revealed a purpose-built space for smuggling contraband and illegal weapons around the transmission housing.
Debbie Cook, Dover operations manager for 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.’
Aivaras claimed he built the hidden compartment in the car himself, after buying the Peugeot in Lithuania.
He admitted to importing firearms in April last year and was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent.
Gytis, the passenger in the vehicle, denied all knowledge of the weapons, but after his DNA was found on the weapons he received a 15-year term.
A search of their car revealed a purpose-built space for smuggling contraband and illegal weapons around the transmission housing. Their stash included this ammunition (pictured)
The men were apprehended by Border Force officers after entering the UK. 10 silencers (pictured) were found stashed in their car
Their specially adapted Peugeot was used to transport the illegal arms. Investigators suspect the weapons would have been sold on to underworld figures such organised crime gangs
Aivaras told investigators he had lived in Great Yarmouth before returning home to Lithuania to buy the motor.
Gytis lived in Kaunas, Lithuania before making his ill-fated journey to UK shores.
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.’
Baikal pistols were manufactured in Russia towards the end of the communist era as a variant of the Makarov pistol.
Normally designed to fire a CS gas cartridges, the guns can be modified to fire lethal bullets to provide a cheap weapon for criminals.
Police have warned that criminals are attempting to buy guns for up to £3,000 each.