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Man remanded in custody after converted handgun and ammunition seized from car

A man has been remanded in custody after a converted handgun and ammunition was seized from a car.

Evan Girdlestone, 47, who lives in Colliers Wood, appeared before magistrates in Croydon on Saturday morning charged with offences under the Firearms Act.

He was arrested in Croydon on Thursday morning and officers from the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Armed Operations Unit recovered what was believed to be a functioning converted weapon and magazines filled with 9mm ammunition from a car.

Girdlestone has been charged with possession of a firearm, namely a handgun contrary to Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 and possession of ammunition contrary to Section 1 of the Act.

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The defendant, wearing a Napapijri fleece, appeared in the dock for five minutes to confirm his name, date-of-birth and address.

No pleas were entered and he was remanded in custody to appear at Croydon Crown Court on June 16.

Girdlestone was born in South Africa, but has lived in the UK for 27 years, the court was told.

The court appearance came after NCA officers searched an industrial unit in the Lombard Road area of Merton, and found an array of tools and machinery, including parts used in the manufacture of weapons and ammunition, blank firers, more than a hundred rounds of live ammunition, around a thousand rounds of blank-firing ammunition, and three potentially functioning converted weapons.

Croydon gun factory
Parts were seized by NCA officers from an industrial unit in the Lombard Road area of Merton (National Crime Agency/PA)

They also found several 3D printing machines suspected of being used to print component parts for converted weapons.

The seized weapons are being assessed and analysed by forensic experts.