A 34-year-old man has been jailed for 14 years yesterday for possessing a military assault rifle.
Mohammed Shah, of Netley Road in Walthamstow, was caught with a Czechoslovakian Vz58 V self loading rifle capable of firing around 800 bullets per minute and emptying a full 30 round magazine in two-and-a-quarter seconds.
The standard issue Czech military rifle was discovered during an operation on February 4 last year when police executed a search warrant at a property in Lansdowne Road, South Woodford - a flat Shah told officers was his.
Specialist firearms officers found the weapon stored in a large flat screen TV box in the rear bedroom of the flat, hidden behind a chest of drawers.
Shah and four other people, his girlfriend and three men he described as friends, were arrested at the address.
Shah was charged and no further action was taken against the other four.
He later denied living in the flat, but his fingerprints were found on the packaging concealing the weapon and examination of his mobile phone revealed he had been living at the residence on an almost-permanent basis since January 1, 2013.
Shah was found guilty of one count of possessing a firearm and one count of possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life at Snaresbrook Crown Court on December 10 last year and sentenced yesterday.
Detective Inspector Steve Meechan said: “It’s quite extraordinary that a weapon of this power has been recovered from the streets of London.
“The rifle has been designed specifically for warfare and it is clear that it would have been lethal in the hands of those involved in gang criminality.”
He said a bullet fired at a person from a range of 80m would be expected to completely pass through the body “with sufficient energy remaining to cause injury to another person in the immediate vicinity”.
To view video of the weapon being test-fired click here.