Warning as Skorpion pistols that fire 850 bullets a minute used in UK

An organised crime expert has said it would be “extremely worrying” if criminals were using Skorpion machine pistols on UK streets. Dr Keith Ditcham, from the Royal United Service Institute’s Organised Crime and Policing Research Group, said there were indications criminals are now more willing to use “extreme measures” including firearms.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel, aged nine, was tragically caught in the crossfire of gang violence when she was shot dead in her own home by murderer Thomas Cashman, 34, in Liverpool on August 22 last year.

Little Olivia died after she was hit in the chest by a bullet meant for convicted burglar Joseph Nee who had been pursued by Cashman to her front door. Cashman was sentenced to at least 42 years in prison on Monday for her murder.

Merseyside Police revealed that guns are increasingly being used by gangs in the city with a terrifying Czech machine pistol called a Skorpion appearing on the streets. The firearm is capable of spraying 850 bullets a minute.

Olivia died as the result of a gunshot from a revolver but three other people shot in Merseyside were killed using the Skorpion weapon and it’s reported at least two of them, like Olivia, were not the intended target.

Dr Ditcham, who is Acting Director and Senior Research Fellow in RUSI’s Organised Crime and Policing Research Group, warned if criminals were choosing to arm themselves with weapons like the Skorpion it would be “extremely worrying”.

He told “Reading some background behind the Skorpion handgun, Merseyside Police say they have seized more of these machine pistols.

“If, and it is an ‘if’, we see more of those weapons on the streets then there is a greater risk to the public, because they spray out a large number of bullets and stop anything that comes in contact.

“When you’re running and discharging a firearm it is actually quite difficult to be accurate, even a trained police marksman will find that quite difficult, in fact I think they are trained to stop and fire, not run and fire.

“So the thought of someone like a criminal not trained in the use of a firearm running and firing something like a machine pistol, or any firearm, is extremely worrying.

“Thankfully this is rare, but that’s not to say it couldn’t happen. It’s right to be concerned about it.”

Dr Ditcham said there were wider concerns around organised crime becoming more willing to use “extreme measures” as they battled over control of interests like drug supply chains.

He said: “I think there are indications that some criminal groups, in order to gain and maintain control of their criminal enterprise, often drugs related, are willing to resort to more extreme measures in order to maintain their market share.

“Some of that could involve the use of firearms, some of that could involve the use of criminal exploitation, or exploiting children, and using torture and God knows what to achieve compliance.

“There are indications that criminals are more willing to use extreme measures, and I think that use of firearms is indicative of that trend.

“People getting caught in the cross-fire is a concerning issue, the killing of another person, any victim, is still of concern whether they are a criminal or not.

“Whoever dies it still doesn’t make it any more palatable and it’s still murder at the end of the day.

“It’s probably too early to say it is indicative of organised criminals to arm themselves and indiscriminately fire upon members of the public. I would caution against saying that.”

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