A pair of gun-runners claimed they couldn’t remember how a stash of guns and ammo ended up in their boot 0 because they had been visiting brothels.

Steven Landers, 56, and Steven Mulroe, 41, tried to smuggle four handguns and 100 rounds of ammunition into the UK in the boot of a BMW - after saying they had come back from visiting sex workers in Amsterdam.

The pair were first arrested by Border Force officers at the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles in May this year.

Searching the car, officers found the four Heckler and Koch handguns - along with 100 rounds of nine millimetre ammunition - and the duo were arrested.

After insisting to investigators from the National Crime Agency that they were on the way to Amsterdam, Landers said that heavy rain had made them stop the car and go to a hotel for the night, leaving the car in a nearby road.

He claimed that he could not remember what country he had been in, or the name of the hotel, telling NCA officers that “someone must have put the guns in the car” without his knowledge.

But, after further investigation, the NCA revealed that Landers and Mulroe knew exactly where they had been, even though Landers claimed they were going to Amsterdam to ‘visit brothels and smoke.'

Data retrieved from Mulroe’s phone showed he had used wi-fi at a hotel in Antwerp, while a parking ticket showed that they had stayed at a hotel in Breukelen in the Netherlands.

Officers also found a receipt for £4,000, which had been changed into Euros at a money shop in Tooting. No cash was found on either man when they were searched.

The men were later charged with the illegal importation of firearms, pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

Both Landers, from Elephant and Castle, and Mulroe, from Battersea, were sentenced to eight years and three months in prison on Thursday at Maidstone Crown Court.

NCA branch commander Martin Grace said: “The nature and scale of organised crime is becoming ever more complex, and criminal networks use a variety of methods to attempt to move firearms across international borders.

“Disrupting those supply routes is a priority for the NCA and our partners, and this operation is an example of that in action.

“In seizing these weapons, which were undoubtedly destined for the criminal marketplace, we have protected the people of the UK from the violence they would have inflicted.”