Illegal weapons available on Amazon, investigation finds

Illegal weapons available on Amazon, investigation finds

A Guardian investigation has revealed Amazon is selling illegal weapons on its website, including stun guns, pepper spray pistols and knuckledusters.

The newspaper described being able to obtain a pepper-spray pistol, capable of firing 112mph jets of high-strength pepper spray, from Amazon.co.uk within 48 hours - couriered direct from its warehouse in Milton Keynes. The newspaper was also able to obtain a 1m-volt stun gun, disguised as a torch and a baseball cap containing a hidden knuckleduster in its peak through independent sellers on the company's website. "The sale of all three is illegal," the paper said.

The stun gun was sold by a third party US company in St Charles, Missouri, despite the company saying "We are technically not supposed to sell these in the UK” as part of the order process. The Guardian described the stun gun as "similar in appearance" to that used by Nathan Matthews who was convicted of murdering his step-sister Becky Watts last month.

The independent Amazon seller completed US customs paperwork falsley to smuggle the illegal item into the country, declaring the package as an “LED flashlight” and a “toy part”, and inputting its value as $9.99 instead of the true figure paid (£99.95), according to the newspaper.

The Guardian pointed readers in the direction of Amazon's official restrictions on products sold page which states: "Products sold on the Amazon.co.uk site must comply with all applicable laws … Items classified as weapons under UK legislation including the Firearms Act 1968 and the Offensive Weapons Act 1996 are prohibited." 

Pepper spray, stun guns and weapons designed to be concealed or disguised all feature on Amazon.co.uk's list of banned weapons. However, other weapons found by the Guardian included knuckledusters, a keychain martial arts weapon and a 3m volt stun-gun desguised as a lipstick.

In a statement, Amazon said: “All [Amazon] sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.”

The Guardian added: "Amazon declined to comment on the fact it is the seller of Guardian Angel II pepper pistols."