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Shotgun cartridges found hidden in communal stairwell ceiling in Battersea, police say

The Independent logo The Independent 27/07/2021 Conrad Duncan
A senior Met Police officer has said that it appears someone was trying to hide the ammunition from the force - Metropolitan Police © Metropolitan Police

A senior Met Police officer has said that it appears someone was trying to hide the ammunition from the force

- Metropolitan Police

A stash of 30 shotgun cartridges has been discovered hidden in a stairwell ceiling in southwest London during a weapons sweep by specialist officers, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Officers who were carrying out a number of weapons sweeps around the Surrey Lane Estate area in Battersea on Monday found the cartridges after they noticed that the corner of a ceiling tile in a stairwell was loose.

After taking a closer look at the ceiling, they found a carrier bag containing the ammunition.

The force said that the cartridges were recovered by members of the Met’s Violence Suppression Unit during the first day of targeted action to tackle firearms offences in the capital.

The ammunition has now been taken to a secure location, with enquiries underway to identify who placed them there.

Detective Inspector Richard Mullan said that there was “no logical explanation” for the cartridges being placed in the ceiling other than someone trying to hide them from officers.

“Within hours of the Met upscaling its focus on firearms for the week, we have recovered 30 shotgun cartridges that someone clearly didn’t want us to find,” Mr Mullan said.

“There’s no other logical explanation for them to be stuffed in a communal ceiling.”

He added: “Whilst this is a fantastic start to the week of upsurge that the Met is carrying out, we constantly react to intelligence and information when provided to us.”

Earlier this week, the Met said that “high-harm offenders” and criminals involved in firearms offences and shootings would be the focus of specialist officers over the coming days.

This work means enhanced weapons sweeps, warrants and overt and covert patrols will be taking place across London as part of efforts to take weapons off the street.

“The more work we put into reducing violent crime and arresting dangerous individuals, the safer I hope the summer will be for all of us,” Detective Superintendent Nick Blackburn, who is leading the enhanced activity, said on Monday.

The force says it has seized 248 firearms, including 151 handguns, three machine guns and two submachine guns, in the first six months of 2021.

Anyone with information on where firearms are being stored or who is in possession of such weapons can give details to the Met Police via 999, by tweeting @MetCC or via the force’s website.

Alternatively, members of the public with information on firearms offences are “strongly encouraged” to contact Crimestoppers anonymously via an online form or by calling 0800 555 111.

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