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Northern Ireland auction selling smugglers' boat linked to Charlie Hebdo attack guns

Huge arsenal linked to gang that supplied Charlie Hebdo terrorists

By Jonny Bell

A Northern Ireland auction house is selling off a boat used to smuggle guns linked to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France last year.

The MV Albernina motor cruiser was seized in a National Crime Agency (NCA) operation in England earlier this year.

It was found with 22 automatic assault rifles, nine Skorpion machine pistols, 58 magazines, two silencers and over 1,000 live rounds of ammunition.

The seizure was thought to be one of the biggest in the NCA's history and five people were found guilty over the find.

National Crime Agency investigators described the Czech-made assault rifles as "mass casualty weapons" and could have unleashed "carnage on a terrifying scale" in the UK.

The network that supplied the guns to the gang also supplied Amedy Coulibaly, the man who attacked a Jewish supermarket in Paris after his co-conspirators, the Kouachi brothers, stormed the office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

Wilsons is responsible for auctioning off most of the UK police forces' seized assets with cash raised going back into the public purse.

The vessel will go under the hammer in an unreserved auction alongside a luxury yacht on Thursday at the auctioneer's Belfast branch.

The 57ft Nordia sloop yacht, the Golem, was found with more than £120m worth of cocaine in an operation last year. The two sailors onboard were sentenced to a combined 34 years in prison over the find.

With an estimated value of around £300,000, as Thursday's auction is unreserved someone could sail away in it for a song.

Both boats are currently stored in Kent, England.

Aidan Larkin, group asset recovery manager for Wilsons Auctions said: "We are delighted to be playing our part in putting money back into the public purse. We have an exciting selection of assets on sale ranging from Yachts to watches and even properties – all to be sold to the highest bidder with no reserve."

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