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STUNBELIEVABLE; INVESTIGATION WEAPONS 3arsenal We buy deadly online 3fail Customs checks to find haul.

Byline: SAMUEL HAMILTON

GANGS and kids are arming themselves with deadly weapons which can be delivered to any doorstep in Ireland in just a few days.

A special Irish Sunday Mirror investigation today reveals just how easy it is for criminals to stock-up on devices which can kill or incapacitate while barely leaving a mark on their victims.

Our arsenal - all bought on-line and delivered to the door - includes CS gas, pepper spray, a retractable baton and a stun gun capable of flooring an adult in just three seconds.

The stun device, which cost less than EUR80, is completely outlawed under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

Government bosses warn it is just as dangerous as a real gun.

The Department of Justice website unequivocally states: "Stun guns are totally prohibited in Ireland. Firearms certificates are not granted for these weapons."

But despite being illegal, we had no problem getting one shipped to us in the post - with hundreds of websites ready and willing to flout the law and boasting quick delivery times.

The Irish Sunday Mirror placed an order with online retailer Security Discount Germany for a stun-gun capable of producing 750,000-volts - 14-times more powerful than the Taser devices used by police forces around the world.

We also bought a solid steel extensible police baton, a 40ml can of inhibiting CS spray and a 40ml can of pepper spray - for a total cost of just over EUR120.

The stun gun we received can incapacitate someone for up to a quarter of an hour - and potentially kill someone with heart problems.

Before our package arrived by courier, it had to go through a number of customs checks in both Germany and Ireland.

But this didn't delay the arrival of our order. Our potentially deadly cache of weapons went completely undetected at all security checkpoints - turning up at our door less than a week after we paid for the items by credit card.

Our stun gun was wrapped with just a thin sheet of plastic which protected it from accidentally going off during transit - the device arrived loaded with batteries and ready for immediate use.

The company we purchased our stun gun from said they had tested it before we got our hands on the Korean-made weapon.

The device's manual explains the extreme power it wields and also warns not to give the device to children, or allow it to be used around petrol stations for fear of causing a major explosion.

It explains: "A short blast of a quarter of a second's duration will startle an attacker, cause minor muscle contractions and have a repelling effect.

"A moderate length blast of one to four seconds can cause an attacker to fall to the ground and result in some mental confusion.

"It may make an assailant unwilling to continue an attack, but he will be able to get up almost immediately."

The manual continues: "A full charge of five seconds can immobilise an attacker, cause disorientation, loss of balance, falling to the ground and leave them weak and dazed for some minutes afterwards.

"Any blast lasting over one second is likely to cause your assailant to fall. If you do not help them down, gravity may injure them.

"Please keep out of reach of children.

"In rooms with flammable gases as well as around petrol stations, the use of this stun gun is not allowed since it can cause an explosion.

"Only use this stun gun in case of emergency and as a defensive weapon."

The usage guide adds that a long blast will cause "mental confusion" to whoever you are firing at.

And it admits that "continued firing into the body of an assailant" will not damage the device - even if the stun gun is constantly fired until running out of juice.

The manual also offers a guide to the ideal points on the human body to target for maximum effect.

It recommends targeting the upper shoulders, below the rib cage and the upper hip.

But what the manual fails to mention is that despite pledging on their website that "no physical or mental damage will be received" from the stun guns - the devices have been proven to be the cause of more than 500 deaths worldwide. Security sources have estimated that there are thousands of the potentially lethal devices stashed in homes across the country.

And in recent years, gardai have arrested a number of thugs found with the devices.

It is believed they are one of the new favourite weapons for criminals to use as they are easier to get hold of than guns and they offer a discreet form of protection. People found in the possession of a stun gun are also likely to be treated more leniently by judges than if they were discovered with a firearm.

Last week, an 18-year-old who attacked two security guards with a stun gun was given a three-year suspended sentence.

In a recent campaign, Amnesty International stated: "We have serious concerns about the use of electroshock devices in general, both in terms of their safety and their potential for misuse.

"Portable and easy to use electo-shock devices such as this, with the capacity to inflict severe pain at the push of a button without leaving substantial marks, are particularly open to abuse. Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of abuses.

CAPTION(S):

Ready for action... the stun gun with pepper and CS spray On target... Samuel uses the pepper spray Shocking... this stun gun can deliver a 750,000-volt blast, while the baton is made of steel Online purchases... reporter Samuel Hamilton shows off the weapons
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 17, 2011
Words:937
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