Ugh, get it out of my sight

Acting on a tip one day last week, police converged on a house in a quiet town in southern England, confronted the woman who answered the door, and confiscated a submachine gun in her possession. A sophisticated one, too: It had been modified to operate with a laser. Oh, no, you might be tempted to think: another terrorist cell that had been arming for an attack. Not so. Catherine Roots of Winfrith, the homeowner, is a grandmother who operates a small farm. In fact, she herself was the tipster ... because having such a menacing weapon under her roof terrified her. Or, as she put it: "I didn't touch it; I didn't know if it would go off." It's true, she signed for it when it arrived by courier from an arms supplier. But that's because she was expecting something quite different – a new harness for one of her horses. "I get a lot of packages," she explained, "[so] I just plunked it down and didn't think about it" at first. So how did such an unlikely mistake happen? Apparently because the shipper (who hasn't been identified) misaddressed the mailing label. Instead of DT2 8DZ, the postal code for police headquarters, where it was supposed to go, it read DT2 8DT. The gun, as it turns out, is strictly for training purposes and fires infrared beams rather than bullets. Thus, delivery by courier was legal. Still, a constable admitted, "It does look like one of our [regular] firearms." As for the supplier, the police are seeking assurances that this will never happen again.

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