Firearms haul found in Bearsden - major police operation underway

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POLICE have found a “significant” cache of firearms and ammunition after carrying out a major operation in Bearsden.

At least two dozen officers, including a forensic team, searched a former farm building on Kessington Road in the Killermont area on Thursday night following a tip-off.

The haul is believed to include two AK-47 assault rifles, one shotgun, two handguns and an SA-80, which is the standard issue British Army service rifle.

It is understood that the member of the public who found the weapons and alerted police is one of five men who live at the farm.

He is reported to have “stumbled across them” while out checking on horses.

The guns were discovered in a canvas bag dumped in a bin at the farm.

A number of items wrapped in plastic were seen being removed and they have been taken to a local police office where tests are being carried out.

Strathclyde Police confirmed firearms had been found and no one has yet been arrested or charged.

Officers in forensics suits were seen digging in the area on Thursday evening.

The farmhouse, which unconfirmed reports suggest had been used as a recording studio, is next to Boclair Academy with a tall fence dividing the land between them. The police found the firearms in the field adjacent to the farm and an area of rubble has also been searched.

Ashleigh Kerr (24) of Inveroran Drive, Bearsden, has a good view of the farmhouse from her home and has been watching the police activity there. She says she doesn’t know who lives there apart from a taxi driver - who she has seen coming and going quite a lot. There are usually three or four horses in the field, though they appear to have gone.

She saw about six to eight police officers taking items away from the farmhouse on Thursday night at about 11.30pm - some of it appeared to be quite heavy as a few officers were carrying things together. They were also in the woods with searchlights.

She said: “This is a very quiet area usually, sometimes they had parties and you could hear the music but no-one ever complained about them as they weren’t too noisy.

“They had a lot of bonfires, probably about two a month.

“There is a very heavy police presence which is putting my mind at ease a bit - officers are patrolling all around the fences today.

“If they weren’t there I might have been a bit worried.”

Mary Donaldson from Woodvale Avenue, on the opposite side of the farmhouse from Kessington Road, says that it used to be a dairy farm about 20 years ago and she bought milk from there. She knew a taxi driver who had moved in there and saw people regularly coming and going from the farm building and says that men who’d had a relationship breakdown often went to stay there as some of the property was available to rent - and they jokingly called it ‘heartbreak house.’

She has seen forensics carrying boxes out and putting them in a van and said: “Sometimes you’d see children out playing there but a lot of the view is obscured in the summer by the trees.

“I was absolutely shocked when I found out the police had found guns.

“I’d never have thought that would happen here but the farm is very isolated so anything could go on there and we wouldn’t know about it.

“The only thing that I found a bit suspicious was the amount of bonfires they had - and often at night, but they caused us absolutely no bother.

“I’m concerned about what could have happened if they hadn’t found these guns - where they were going and who they were for.”

Area Detective Superintendent Jim Downie said: “A significant amount of firearms and ammunition have been recovered and enquiries are ongoing to establish how they got there.

“We would like to ascertain where they came from and who put them there and we’d like to hear from anyone who might be able to assist us.

“It’s reassuring that we now have the firearms off the street and that they are now in our possession.

“Our enquiries are at a very early stage - we can tell you that we have found a range of firearms but we don’t know how long they have been there.

“Local residents should be reassured by the amount of police personnel here and that we are working hard to identify who is responsible for this.”

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information that would help us with our enquiries to contact London Road Police Office on 0141 532 4600 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where details can be given in confidence.”

Local councillor Ashay Ghai said: “I spoke to the council’s chief executive and visited the scene on Friday morning. It is my understanding that semi-automatic weapons were discovered on the farm site.

“A heavy and visible police presence was on hand and the area had been cordoned off. On making further enquiries I was told that this would be for ‘as long as required’ with no set timescale.

“Obviously such a discovery of heavy-duty weapons is of huge concern to me as a local representative.

“The farm has been a natural landmark in the area for many decades and a working dairy farm until only recently. It lies on the doorstep of Boclair Academy, many walk their dogs a stone’s throw away from the farmhouse and families often take their children to feed the horses in the adjacent field.

“However, I was assured by the swift actions of the police and relieved that any further incident has been averted. I spoke to a number of local residents on Woodvale Avenue to keep them informed on proceedings and reassure them that the police had dealt with the incident admirably.”

Do you live in the area? Did you see the police operation? Did you take any pictures? E-mail us at mbherald@jnscotland.co.uk or call us on 0141 956 3533.