First UK conviction for firearms manufacture using a 3D printer

A man has been jailed for three years in what is believed to be the first conviction and sentencing in the UK for manufacturing a firearm using a 3D printer.

Sep 19, 2019
By Tony Thompson

Tendai Muswere, 26, was arrested in October 2017 when officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) executed a drugs warrant.

During the course of the operation, officers found components of a 3D printed gun, capable of firing a lethal shot. Mr Muswere, who does not hold a firearms licence, told officers that he was printing the firearm for a university project.

He claimed not to be aware that the components he had made were capable of firing. He later refused to comment on what his film project was about.

A search of Mr Muswere’s internet search history revealed that he had viewed videos demonstrating how to use a 3D printer to manufacture firearms which fired live ammunition. The officers also discovered cannabis plants and evidence of cannabis cultivation.

A second raid on Mr Muswere’s home in February 2018 resulted in the discovery of further components of a 3D printed gun.

Mr Muswere pleaded guilty to the offences in June but was sentenced today (September 19) at Southwark Crown Court in London.

The lead investigating officer in the case, Detective Sergeant Jonathan Roberts, said: “Muswere claimed that he was printing the firearms for a ‘dystopian’ university film project, but he has not explained why he included the component parts necessary to make a lethal barrelled weapon. We know that Muswere was planning to line the printed firearms with steel tubes in order to make a barrel capable of firing.

“I hope that today’s sentencing sends a very clear and powerful message that we will prosecute anyone who thinks that they can get away with being in possession of, or manufacturing a firearm, in London.”

The sentencing follows a spate of recent firearms incidents in the capital including a drive-by murder in Kentish Town and a further fatal shooting in south London.

Earlier this month police warned that the “fluid supply” of guns was becoming increasingly difficult to control, with gangs using new and innovative ways of smuggling them past border defences.

Simon Brough, head of firearms at the National Crime Agency (NCA) told The Telegraph that the “sheer volume” of firearms coming into the UK represented a “pernicious threat” that urgently needed to be addressed.

“The scale is really challenging,” he said. “We are doing everything we can, but criminals are operating in a lucrative business where they can be increasingly innovative and operate in a highly effective way.”

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