French customs seize 3,000 grenades, 56kg of munitions from collector

French authorities said on Thursday that asuspiciously low-slung vehicle led customs officers to seize a collector’s caches of 3,000 grenades and 56 kilogrammes of munitions.

A statement by Budget Minister Gerard Darmanin said that the customs officers were on patrol on a road between Paris and the Belgian border near Chimay when they spotted the vehicle, whose sagging body indicated an unusually heavy load.

The officers searched the vehicle and found undocumented grenades and handguns.

They then decided to search the owner’s two homes and a garage in the Ardennes region of north-eastern France, an area where battles took place in World War I and World War II.

In total they found 3,000 grenades, 150 kilogrammes of fuses for artillery shells, 56 kilogrammes of munitions, and almost 20 weapons or weapon parts including semi-automatic pistols.

Photos published by Darmanin’s office showed rusting grenades apparently dug up from battlefields, as well as old ammunition clips and newer-looking handguns.

Two bomb disposal squads were called in as many of the grenades were at risk of explosion and some of the weapons had not been rendered unusable, he said. (dpa/NAN)

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