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A sawn off shotgun and a pistol were seized in Hornchurch as part of a Met-wide sting described by Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe as “one of the largest hauls in 24 hours I have seen in my career”.

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A .22 Derringer pistol and a sawn off shotgun were found with ammunition and cartridges along with cocaine in an uninsured and untaxed vehicle in Halcyon Way at 4pm yesterday.

Officers from the gang squad, operation Trident, seized nine guns from spots across the city including a loaded Italian police handgun and a Jackal berretta with a silencer as well as a CS gas canister.

Det Ch Insp Rebecca Reeves, of the Trident Gang Crime Command, said: “We are at the early stage of evaluating the evidence, but I am certain that these guns were linked to gangs in Lambeth and elsewhere in south London.

“Thanks to the decisive and brave actions of officers yesterday, we will never know how much pain these seven guns would have caused in the hands of the criminals who sought to use them.”

Enquires continue to identify potential suspects.

Sir Bernard said: “This is one of the largest hauls in 24 hours I have seen in my career as a police officer. It is hugely significant to take this number of guns off the streets.

“It is almost two years to the day since I launched the gang command and it is making a real difference. Shootings and stabbings are down and I am committed to keeping this drive going.”

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