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There is no age or ID check and with just a few mouse clicks an AK47 is delivered for PS184*; GUNS ONLINE OUR REPORTER SNAPS UP DEADLY-LOOKING WEAPON ON AMAZON *inc PS14 post and packaging.

Byline: STEPHEN STEWART s.stewart@dailyrecord.co.uk

IT TAKES just a handful of clicks to buy a fearsome AK47 replica on Amazon.

Yet there were no age or ID checks when I bought my rifle that experts fear could be converted into a deadly weapon and used by gangsters.

The listing on the world's biggest shopping website says it is "totally legal to own" - but the sale of imitation guns is banned in the UK.

We bought the replica after imitation firearms were used by criminals in a string of terrifying robberies.

A source said: "It's not as hard as you think to convert these things, depending on the style of weapon that you have. I have seen a few that have been converted to fire.

"Sometimes, depending on how good the job is, it is 50/50 whether the thing fires or blows up in your hand."

Using a Kindle Fire HD tablet, I went to the Amazon website. I typed "AK47 assault rifle" into the search box to be given several options including a high-quality replica.

I clicked once to add the item to my shopping basket then clicked again to head to the checkout and buy the item for PS170. I was charged a further PS14 for postage and packing. I received an email confirming my order.

A few days later, another email told me the replica had been dispatched from the retailer in Germany and would arrive between Friday, May 29, and Wednesday, June 17.

On Monday this week, my AK47 assault rifle arrived in a long, brown cardboard box, complete with a realistic ammunition magazine.

It had travelled nearly 1100 miles, apparently without being checked or scanned by border security officials or postal workers.

One satisfied customer reviewed the weapon on Amazon.

He wrote: "I have a real deactivated AK47 and I also bought this replica AK47. The replica was a little heavier than the real one but I found the replica a lot better and I couldn't tell the difference between the real one and the replica."

Firearms expert David Dyson believes our AK47 could be converted to fire live ammo - just as jailed gangster Grant Wilkinson did with blank-firing copies of MAC-10 sub-machine guns.

Wilkinson ran an armoury linked to murders and shootings. He also posed as a James Bond movie producer to buy replica machine guns.

Dyson said: "It will depend on what type of replica you start with.

"For instance, a blank-firing copy will probably be easier to convert than a replica that was not designed to fire any form of ammunition.

"Grant Wilkinson bought 90 blank firing copies of MAC-10 sub-machine guns which he converted by removing the original blocked barrels and replacing them with smoothbored barrels."

Laws governing replica firearms came into force in October 2007. It is an offence for anyone to sell, import or make a realistic imitation firearm and the maximum penalty is six months' jail and a PS5000 fine.

Our investigation reveals a major loophole that allows these lethal-looking weapons to be imported from Europe.

On Wednesday, we told how Matthew Ferry used a replica pistol to terrorise staff at Laing the Jeweller in Edinburgh.

He got away with PS233,160 worth of watches but was caught and jailed for 13 years this week.

In 2010, our sister paper The Sunday Mail revealed that gangsters were flooding Scotland with crude but deadly converted PS100 pistols. Known in the underworld as Showstoppers, they are replica Smith & Wesson Colt 45 revolvers designed to fire blanks.

In 2009, wannabe glamour model Caroline Igoe, 32, was jailed for murdering boyfriend Martyn Barclay in Edinburgh with a converted German-made Umarerx Reck pistol.

We also found replica revolvers for sale on Amazon.

Spanish firm DENIX, who make the AK47 we bought, have a clumsily worded warning on their website.

It says they take no responsibility for misuse or illegal use of their replicas and describes them as having "a decorative character only, gift or collection".

It states that the firearms do not have a mechanism for shooting.

The website adds: "They should never be carried on the street, pointed at anyone, hidden on your person, or left carelessly in your car.

"Do not leave them where they are accessible to unsupervised children or irresponsible adults."

It also warns that carrying them in public may be against the law or cause police "undue apprehension" which could result in harm to the carrier. We raised our concerns with Amazon and were told us they were looking into the matter.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Cuddihy said: "Police Scotland is committed to reducing the availability of firearms in circulation and their use by criminals.

"They present a real risk to the safety of the public.

"If used to commit an act of criminality the consequences could obviously be fatal. Even if not capable of firing live ammunition, a member of the public is unlikely to be able to tell the difference."

It had travelled 1100 miles, seemingly without checks by customs officials STEPHEN STEWART

CAPTION(S):

TERRIFYING Our reporter Stephen with AK47 replica he bought online

INNOCENT Firearm came in cardboard box just like any other Amazon purchase
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 19, 2015
Words:864
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