UK – Deadly stun guns [not Taser ® products]for sale on eBay – Auction site in the dock as Mail on Sunday buys three lethal weapons in a matter of minutes (2014-02-15)

Published on February 15 2014 by admin

Daily Mail, by Ben Ellery and Gareth Rubin

[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: Tasers are illegal weapons the United Kingdom (except for police use). Politicians have raised alarm about stun guns that deliver an electric shock five times more powerful than a police Taser that are being sold on eBay. The stun guns, advertised on the site as ‘Flashlight with electric ring flash’ and thereby getting through eBay safeguards, bought for as little as £9, arrived days later from Poland, Lithuania, Italy, and America.]

The stun guns were to

• Weapons cause excruciating pain, paralysis, and are linked to deaths

• Available for as little as £9 from online sellers in Poland, Italy and Lithuania

• The devices were disguised as torches to avoid eBay safeguards

• MoS reporters also found dangerous pepper spray available from the U.S.

• The auction website has been accused of endangering people for profit

Stun guns that deliver an electric shock five times more powerful than a police Taser are being sold on eBay, a Mail on Sunday investigation has found.

The weapons, which are disguised as torches, paralyse victims instantly and leave them in excruciating pain.

In some cases the stun guns have been linked to brain damage and even death.

Last night politicians accused eBay of fuelling an alarming new threat on Britain’s streets and of ‘sacrificing public safety in the name of recklessly making profits’.

The auction website claims it bans the sale of illegal weapons, but The Mail on Sunday was able to buy three illegal stun guns and two pepper sprays within minutes. The packages, bought for as little as £9, arrived days later from Poland, Lithuania, Italy, and America.

The stun guns were advertised on the site as ‘Flashlight with electric ring flash’ to get round eBay safeguards that prohibit the use of the terms ‘stun gun’ and ‘Taser’. A reporter handed the weapons to the Metropolitan Police at the London office of The Mail on Sunday.

Officers said the force’s firearms unit, SCO19, would launch an investigation into the eBay stun guns, and its 31,000 officers would be briefed about their danger.

After this newspaper alerted eBay, the auction site removed the listings from its website. However, just hours later dozens more were back on sale.

Tory MP Michael Ellis, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, last night called on the website to review its procedures. He said: ‘It is extremely concerning that eBay is sacrificing public safety by not banning these illegal weapons in the name of recklessly making profits.

‘They are extremely dangerous and, if they fall into the wrong hands, it will be extremely worrying. It’s all very well eBay saying it removes the items as soon as it finds them, but it is not enough and the company should have more people trawling the site looking for weapons. It’s basic common sense.’

According to the eBay listings, the stun guns are capable of discharging ten milliamps – five times the amount of controversial Tasers used by police.

Ebay retailer Jaroslaw Jagielski, 52, sold us a stun gun online for £19. When approached by a journalist at his home in Zary, Poland, he said he had sold 150 worldwide, with at least ten of them in the UK.

He said he had ‘no idea’ that the stun guns were illegal in Britain.

‘I am just a businessman,’ Mr Jagielski said. ‘How should I know what the politicians don’t like in England?’

The other stun guns were bought from Lithuania and Italy while the pepper sprays were bought from eBay shop Xtreme Motors, in Utah, America.

Possessing the weapons is a criminal offence under Section 5 of the Firearms Act and anyone caught with one faces up to ten years in prison.

Firearms expert Roger Gray inspected the weapons for The Mail on Sunday and said they were ‘sinister and potentially deadly’.

Mr Gray, a retired Metropolitan Police sergeant and former tactical adviser for the Met’s firearms unit, said: ‘The eBay listing says they are five times as powerful as Tasers used by the police, but they have been bought online so could be even more dangerous.

‘The fact they are disguised to look like a torch is even more worrying because they could easily be hidden from police.

‘The pepper sprays are just as bad, and if one of them went off in a crowded Tube carriage it would cause mayhem.’

In 2012, an American Heart Association study documented eight cases of people in the US who have died or suffered significant brain damage following a cardiac arrest linked to being shot with a Taser.

Forensic physician Dr Jason Payne-James said: ‘The problem with the sprays bought off eBay is that, although they say that they are pepper sprays, you haven’t got a clue what they actually contain.

‘There’s no quality control so it could be anything and it might be toxic.’

In a very severe case, he added, sprays could cause pulmonary oedema – potentially fatal fluid in the lungs.

The auction website said it removed illegal products once they were found but admitted it could not guarantee unlawful items would not slip through the net.

A spokesman said: ‘We are investigating the cases raised where our control systems did not prevent sale of the items to a UK address.’

Preventing banned weapons entering the UK is the responsibility of the UK Border Force.

A spokesman said: ‘Attempting to possess and smuggle prohibited weapons into the UK is a serious offence and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

‘Make no mistake – just because it is legal to buy or own an item in another country does not mean it is legal to bring it into the UK.’



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