two-month undercover investigation by the Burton Mail has sparked a
police raid after it splashed on claims that a member of staff at a
B&Q store was involved in trading illegal and potentially lethal
Chief reporter David Powles said he discovered the
sale of the guns, which emit an electrical charge of up to 50,000
volts, through a contact at the store’s distribution depot who had been
offered a gun for £50 by a fellow worker.
The dealer then sold
one of the guns and an electric charger to the Mail for £50. Powles
discovered it was faulty after he tested it and got an electric shock.
The dealer said he could get 10 more guns, which were disguised as
torches, and boasted he had sold around 50 guns to fellow staff and
The Mail immediately handed its evidence, including the gun, to the police.
hours a team of around 15 officers was gathered and Operation Torch was
launched. Powles and a photographer were invited to cover it.
the scene of the raid Powles was spat at and had his car door kicked in
by a man he had written an unrelated story about for avoiding bail.
said: “I managed to get myself electrocuted, start a police raid and
investigation, get spat at and have my car door kicked, all in the
space of 24- hours. Not bad for a day’s work.”
● The B&Q
depot was the same store in Branston where the Iliffe News and
Media-owned evening paper uncovered a female member of staff selling
her fellow workmates sexual favours.