Border guards are uncovering around 80 guns a week smuggled into the country for criminal gangs.

The haul ranges from pistols and semi-automatics to assault rifles as England and Wales firearms offences last year hit 6,559 – the worst for eight years, leaving 33 people dead.

Home Office figures show 11,991 guns found at UK ports in the last three years as European smugglers charge 10 times here what they cost abroad.

Earlier this year two men were jailed for 26 years for trying to smuggle 79 revolvers bought cheap in the Czech Republic.

Robert Keogh got nine years

In November another pair got eight years after driving four Heckler and Kock pistols and 100 bullets through the Channel Tunnel in a BMW.

Last August 60 guns were found in a vehicle at Dover.

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Robert Keogh, the Irish courier who paid £10,000 to get them into the UK, got nine years.

The Home Office said: “We have some of the world’s toughest gun laws. Border Force officers work hard to keep the UK secure.”