French police confiscate collector′s grenade and gun stash | News | DW | 25.07.2019
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French police confiscate collector's grenade and gun stash

Police stopped a man who was crossing the border to Belgium with grenades and guns packed into his car. A bomb disposal unit needed to be called in after they made an explosive discovery.

Police confiscated a stash of weapons including 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of explosives and around 300 grenades after they pulled over a car on the French-Belgian border in late June, the French government said Thursday.

Officials said the car, which was travelling on the road from Paris to Belgium's Chimay region, was sagging low — a prime indication that the load was suspiciously heavy.

Read more: Who disarms Germany's WWII bombs?

Police found the car stuffed with grenades and hand guns. A bomb disposal team was called in after officers found that some grenades were in danger of exploding. The owner had also failed to neutralize some of the handguns, which is against the law in France.

An investigation led the police to two houses that belonged to the driver, a keen weapons collector.

The houses, both located in the Ardennes region of northeastern France, were packed with over 150 kilograms of explosives and 56 kilograms of grenades, some of which seem to have been dug up from local areas. The stash also included 18 mortars, a cache of semiautomatic pistols and an antique weapons collection worth around €6,000 ($6,700).

French Minister for Government Action and Public Accounts Gerald Darmanin praised the customs officers who tracked down the weaponry. "They prove that their work is essential in combating the trafficking of arms and munitions," he said on Twitter.

A number of key battles in the First and Second World wars took place in the Ardennes region.

Read more: Defusing bombs – is there a safer way?

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