We have been made aware by the MET Police that criminals have targeted firearms owners advertising legal items for sale on websites such as Gunstar. They recently had the following situation arise:
“On Saturday 5th September 2020 a licenced FAC holder advertised a gun for sale on Gun Star, one of the well-known sites for sales of lawfully owned guns. The advert was answered by two males and the holder arranged for a meeting at his home address. He cordially invited said males into the address where he showed the gun and his certificate. Sadly what happened next would have been a shock to any person. The males who purported to be lawful buyers were in fact criminals who proceeded to hold the certificate holder at knife point, tie him and his wife up and then instruct him to load the gun for them. They then left the household, leaving the holder bound.”
They have also issued the following advice to people selling guns via such websites:
- Try and ensure certificates are checked prior to any meeting. It may be a picture of their certificate can be sent electronically. This image of the holder can be cross referenced with any attendee, before any entry is allowed into the home.
- Try and complete a sale away from your home. At home, a criminal has access to the entire contents of your safe; a better location may be at your local shooting club as more people will be present, this may be the deterrent needed to prevent the criminal brazen behaviour.
- Advertise locally within your club environment rather than online.
- Ideally use an RFD as a conduit for sale – This is by far the safest option, whilst I appreciate this can cost, the risk to holder is entirely negated.