A schoolboy stumbled on the find of his life when he discovered a cache of 40 IRA weapons while out with his magnet fishing with a metal detector.
James Cork, 16, was combing Greylake on the Somerset Levels when he came across the arsenal of rusting guns, which included a Browning .50 machine gun, which could take down a helicopter, and an M16 assault rifle.
There were also parts of a Nazi MG 42 light machine gun, which has a 600m killing range, and a Czech SA23 9mm submachine gun.
An expert believes the guns may have belonged to the IRA and could have been dumped when they were meant to be declaring their arms in 2001.
James, from Street, Somerset, had taken up the unusual hobby of magnet fishing six months ago – which involves a strong magnet tied to the end of a rope.
He told The Sun: "I was shocked. I've never found anything like this before. There were a few whole weapons, but not many. Some were machine guns, pistols and revolvers. And there was a massive machine gun on a stand.
"There was a fisherman getting quite angry as I was disturbing the water. But when he saw what I pulled out, he came and helped."
Though he threw most back into the water, he took one of the guns – thought to be a 1930s Smith & Wesson .38 - home to play with.
But when his mum Katherine saw him playing with the gun, she called 999 and an armed police arrived minutes later.
The 37-year-old said: "Nothing illegal is allowed in the house. But I didn't think I'd be dealing with one of my kids holding a gun. I said, 'Bring it downstairs, leave it in the kitchen and don't touch it'."
Police dredged the river the next day to recover the rest of the weapons.A spokesman for Avon & Somerset Police said: "None of the weapons were complete, and they were extremely rusty and very old. All of the weapon parts have been or are being destroyed."
Former SAS sergeant and author Andy McNab, who served in Northern Ireland during 1979, told the paper the weapons could have been used by the IRA during The Troubles.
He said: "This must be a terrorist bundle. That's because there are weapons for various ranges - from close assassination ones to the Browning that could take out a helicopter or Land Rover.
"A large machine gun barrel means it could be the IRA. Were they included when they declared their arms? Or were they held back in case they didn't get a deal they wanted?"