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Deadliest Catch - magnet fishermen find sawn-off shotgun in River Wensum

PUBLISHED: 17:31 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:31 08 February 2019

The sawn-off shotgun found in the River Wensum. Picture: The Dippy Detectorists

The sawn-off shotgun found in the River Wensum. Picture: The Dippy Detectorists

The Dippy Detectorists

A sawn-off shotgun found by two magnet fishermen in a Norwich river is being tested for any links to previous crime scenes.

Friends Matt Miller and Matt Leggett found the weapon submerged in the River Wensum while magnet fishing near the former Toys R Us store at Westwick Street.

The discovery was filmed and uploaded to their Youtube channel ‘The Dippy Detectorists’, which follows their treasure hunting adventures around Norfolk.

Weeks earlier the former Reepham High School pupils discovered a double-barrelled shotgun in a river at Old Lakenham, south Norwich.

Mr Miller, 24, from Haveringland, said: “I pulled it [the sawn-off] out of the water and just thought ‘what on earth’.

Matt Leggett, from Spixworth, and Matt Miller, from Haveringland, found the weapons submerged underwater. Photo: The Dippy DetectoristsMatt Leggett, from Spixworth, and Matt Miller, from Haveringland, found the weapons submerged underwater. Photo: The Dippy Detectorists

“It’s very dodgy. You don’t expect to find guns in Norwich, but the river must be the perfect place to get rid of evidence.”

He said the weapon still had the remains of a black bin bag attached to it, leading them to believe it may have been concealed.

They made the discovery in November 2018 and handed it to Norfolk police last month.

It is understood the weapon has been sent for examination to see if it matches any crime scenes.

The sawn-off shotgun found in the River Wensum. Picture: The Dippy DetectoristsThe sawn-off shotgun found in the River Wensum. Picture: The Dippy Detectorists

Mr Miller said they found the items by dropping a powerful magnet attached to a rope into the river.

Known as magnetic fishing, the hobby is a combination of treasure hunting and environmentalism and has grown rapidly in the UK and US in recent years.

Mr Miller, who only took up the hobby with 23-year-old Mr Leggett in September last year, said the sawn-off shotgun was probably a “once in a lifetime” find for magnet fishermen.

Mr Miller and Mr Leggett, from Spixworth, have been filming their adventures for their Youtube channel since June last year.

The sawn-off shotgun found in the River Wensum. Picture: The Dippy DetectoristsThe sawn-off shotgun found in the River Wensum. Picture: The Dippy Detectorists

They started out with metal detectors but later moved to magnet fishing.

The magnets used cost between £60 to £70 online and have a pulling force of up to 300kg.

Mr Miller said their previous finds have included jewellery and a safe, which turned out to be empty.

While some shotguns can be owned with a certificate, shotguns that are sawn-off to have a barrel length of less than 30cm are illegal in the UK.

The double barrell shotgun found in by The Dippy Detectorists. Picture: The Dippy DetectoristsThe double barrell shotgun found in by The Dippy Detectorists. Picture: The Dippy Detectorists

Short-barrelled “assault shotguns” - self-loading and pump action shotguns with barrels of less than 24 inches or overall length of less than 40 inches - are also prohibited weapons requiring the Secretary of State’s authority.

A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed the sawn-off shotgun was handed in and will be examined.

Police said it was a “very old gun”.

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