Father and son duo Neil and Billy Hopkins found over 30 firearms fishing an English river with magnets. The guns were found in a Greylake river basin near Bridgwater in Somerset, just across the waters from Ireland and Wales.
The pair dredged the river with a giant electromagnet capable of lifting nearly 500 pounds of steel. They reported their catch to the police, who, combined with an earlier find, recovered over 110 rifles, pistols, machine guns and submachine guns out of this Greylake basin.
This is the second big batch of guns pulled from the bottom of the river. In 2015 a group of Somerset boys found a cache of at least 80 more guns in the same area. Police say the finds are related, and include similar guns.
“There was a history of weapons found here before,” Hopkins told the BBC. Hopkins said they weren’t looking for guns in particular. “I don’t know where they’ve come from; we’re told it could be from a World War II munitions dump.”
However, many of the firearms weren’t even invented before World War II. Some of the guns found include a CZ Model 25, a Colt M16 and a Fabrique Nationale CAL.
The CZ Model 25 or Sa 25 is a 9mm submachine gun that dates back to 1948. The handy submachine gun was produced into the late ’60s and exported throughout the Communist Bloc during the Cold War era.
The FN CAL was a somewhat unsuccessful rifle produced by Fabrique Nationale for about a decade starting in 1966. Designed to follow in the footsteps of the FN FAL — nicknamed “the right arm of the Free World” — the CAL saw limited production and was ultimately phased out.
And the M16 famously made its debut in the Vietnam War. Based on the AR-15, the gun is still in use today by the U.S. and dozens of other countries for military, police and private use. It is one of the most successful and still-modern rifles in production today.
It’s not possible for this to be a World War II weapons cache. The ages of these guns mean that they were dumped more recently.
Police have sent divers to continue searching for more guns. Judging by their condition, it doesn’t seem likely that any are likely to be functional. However, some parts may be recoverable, especially if there are more M16s down there.