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Man finds 6 WWII submachine guns in canal while magnet fishing in UK

A magnet used for magnet fishing. (Marián Kábele/Wikimedia Commons)
February 13, 2022

A magnet fisherman in the UK pulled six WWII submachine guns from a canal in what he described as “the best find ever.”

Nigel Lamford, 50, used his specialty magnet capable of lifting over a ton of metal to haul six “Sten” MK II firearms from the water on Jan. 9, Yahoo News UK first reported last week.

Lamford said he found the weapons in “good condition” after tossing his magnet into a swampy canal in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire.

“A find like that was just the best find ever in my opinion,” said Lamford, who is from Kettering, Northamptonshire. He said he pulled in the magazine, gun and stock separately and reassembled the firearm on the bank.

“You can find some amazing stuff, but I’ve never found so many guns in such good condition together,” Lamford said.

After posing with the firearms, Yahoo News UK reported that they were taken away to a military museum.

Lamford believes the historical weapons could be functional again, and guess they are worth around 1,000 pounds each.  

The avid magnet fisherman said he has also found artillery shells, grenades, knives and 18th-century flintlock muskets.

“I’ve recovered about 61 guns now in total. You don’t get many very often but the place we were dredging was the UK’s biggest ordinance depo for 150 years, so it goes right back to Napoleonic times,” Lamford said. “You obviously can’t have weapons in the UK though so they are always surrendered to police to be destroyed, or given away to museums to clean up.”

“We got special permission to be there because it’s private land,” he said.

Lamford operates a magnet fishing YouTube channel called “Northantsmagnetfishing” that has viewers worldwide.

“[Magnet fishing] is getting really big in the UK now. When I first started three years ago there were maybe 10 YouTube channels for it, now there are over 100 in the UK,” Lamford said. “It’s an amazing community too. Usually there’s five of us in a group, and we go out looking together and have a bit of fun, that’s the main thing.”

Late last month, a Florida man and his grandson pulled two sniper rifles from the water during a magnet fishing trip in the Miami suburb of Homestead.

“With magnet fishing every time I cast out or every other time I’m coming up with something,” Duane told CNN on Wednesday. “There’s a bottle cap or you know, $7,000 sniper rifle.”

The sniper rifles were subsequently turned over to Miami-Dade Police and will likely be processed at a forensics lab. Authorities are also working to determine if the firearms were used in any crimes.