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Police seize '3D printed gun parts'
Component parts for what could be the UK's first ever 3D printed gun have been seized by police.
Police believe the parts represent the "next generation" of firearms, which can be created by gangsters in the privacy of their own homes and smuggled with ease due to the fact they can avoid X-ray detection.
The gun parts were discovered, along with a 3D printer, when officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) executed a series of warrants in the Baguley area yesterday.
Police found what is suspected to be a 3D plastic magazine and trigger which could be fitted together to make a viable 3D gun.
It they are found to be viable components for a 3D gun, it would be the first ever seizure of this kind in the UK, police said.
The parts are now being forensically examined by firearms specialists to establish if they could construct a genuine device.
The raid was part of Challenger, the largest ever multi-agency operation to target organised criminality in Manchester.
Detective Inspector Chris Mossop, of Challenger's Organised Crime Coordination Unit, said: "This is a really significant discovery for Greater Manchester Police.
"If what we have seized is proven to be viable components capable of constructing a genuine firearm, then it demonstrates that organised crime groups are acquiring technology that can be bought on the high street to produce the next generation of weapons.
"In theory, the technology essentially allows offenders to produce their own guns in the privacy of their own home, which they can then supply to the criminal gangs who are causing such misery in our communities. Because they are also plastic and can avoid X-ray detection, it makes them easy to conceal and smuggle."
He added: "These could be the next generation of firearms and a lot more work needs to be done to understand the technology and the scale of the problem.
"If what we have seized today can, as we suspect, be used to make a genuine firearm then today will be an important milestone in the fight against this next generation of homemade weapons.
"I would strongly urge anyone who has information about the whereabouts of a gun in their community to call us."
A man has been arrested on suspicion of making gunpowder and remains in custody for questioning.
The technology works by allowing anyone who has a 3D printer - which can be bought on the high street for about £1,200 - to download designs for guns or components.
The printers themselves squirt molten plastic to produce 3D shapes of whatever design has been downloaded.
The model parts can then be converted to become a genuine firearm capable of firing bullets.