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The iGun; British crooks buying stun weapons disguised as phones, keys & torches; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: Alan Selby

DEADLY stun guns made to look like iPhones can be purchased online for as little as PS13 - sparking fears they will fuel gang warfare on the streets.

A Sunday People investigation reveals electric-shock weapons in a variety of disguises can be bought from foreign websites with a few clicks.

Then in just minutes one of the 2.7millionvolt stun guns may be in the post and delivered to criminals within days - without attracting any attention from customs.

Besides the phone disguises, some models are made to resemble torches and key fobs in an effort to fool authorities and hide the user's true intentions.

Police chiefs have warned of the devices' appalling effects and reminded would-be buyers that they risk jail.

Firearms specialist Chief Constable Dave Thompson, said: "Offences involving guns make up a small percentage of total recorded crime - but their impact can be devastating for victims and communities." Mr Thompson, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for criminal use of firearms, went on: "Of all reported firearms offences, electrical stun guns are used in a very small number of cases.

"However, criminals should be in no doubt that if they are caught in possession of one of these weapons, they face being imprisoned for up to 10 years."

The cheap stun guns are cleverly made to look just like hi-tech mobile phones at first glance, with iPhone replicas highly popular. Only after careful scrutiny does it become clear that the phones are not functional and instead feature two electrodes at one end for zapping victims.

More expensive Tasers which look like police-issued weapons can also be bought online.

Our findings follow a series of UK prosecutions involving criminals who imported the deadly weapons - including Becky Watts's sick murderer Nathan Matthews.

Hundreds more of the devices have slipped under the radar, with satisfied customers from the UK giving sellers a thumbsup in online feedback scores.

Foreign retailers, including several based in Hong Kong, market the "high-voltage selfdefence" devices as being for use by "law enforcement, security guards and civilians due to their extended reach and power".

But the reality is that members of the public can easily get their hands on the weapons for malicious purposes.

This is despite the fact that it is illegal to possess them in Britain, with sentences of up to five years in prison.

Killer Matthews, 28, was found with two 8,200-volt devices disguised as police torches when officers searched his house after Becky, 16, disappeared.

The weapons, which he kept at the Bristol home he shared with his co-accused Shauna Hoare, 21, were "to teach step-sister Becky a lesson", he said before being convicted of murder in November and jailed for 33 years.

Also last year David Clark, 31, Neil Cuthbertson, 47, and Aiden Bedford, 26, were jailed for 14 years in total for importing stun guns from Thailand.

The trio, from Leeds, had arranged a shipment of weapons disguised as iPhones but customs spotted a suspicious package and tracked them down.

Last month a holidaymaker was jailed after bringing a stun gun into Britain - unaware that it was an illegal firearm.

n t l Father-tobe Anthony Mason, 30, had bought the stun gun, disguised as an iPhone, in Bulgaria as a present for a relative. He was sentenced to five years by Newcastle Crown Court.

In another stun gun purchase, a buyer in Finland complained that an ordered item had not arrived - as the parcel had been seized by customs when it arrived in the country.

However, British buyers appear not to have faced the same problem.

One wrote this week: "Good seller.

Good item. Thanks. Delivery a little late but Thompson came in good time and well packaged." UK-based buyers traced via Facebook profiles attached to the website involved include muscle-bound thugs.

Another purchaser is a self-confessed far-Right extremist who shares his anti-Islamic propaganda online.

His social media pages show pictures including one that reads: "This is England. Not Muslim lands. We didn't want sharia law, we didn't ask for it and we don't want it. We have our own laws. This is England and we want to keep it that way."

keep it tha a" A seller touting a 1.2million-volt stun gun marketed as a "Kelin K95" says the stealth device can be used to evade law enforcement. The online shop terminatormall describes the PS13 phone as having "a unique design, which gives you a tactical advantage".

The store goes on: "Because it looks like a harmless cell phone it will be easy to surprise an attacker."

Mr Thompson, the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, said: "The police and the National Ballistics Intelligence Service continue to work together to take action against those involved in criminal activity involving firearms and prevent these weapons from entering the country."

feedback@people.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

CHEAP: Phone zapper for PS13

PERIL: Key fob gun, PS14

ALERT: Ch Con Dave Thompson

DANGER: Flashlight gun, PS15
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 6, 2016
Words:827
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