The intelligence was shared with Border Force officers based at Coquelles in France, who stopped the van before it entered the tunnel on Saturday. Det Ch Supt Michael Gallagher, of the Met’s Organised Crime Partnership, said: “I have no doubt that a number of these weapons were destined for the streets of London, where they would have caused misery and unspeakable damage to the community.” The firearms, wrapped in blue plastic, were hidden in engine block compartments Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The haul of “viable” 4mm and 6mm handguns was found in specially adapted compartments in engine blocks being pulled on a trailer by a yellow Mercedes van.Two men – Janusz Michek, a 59-year-old Polish national, and Denis Kolencukov, a 23-year-old originally from the Czech Republic but living in the UK – have been charged.Both are accused of knowingly being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition or restriction on a prohibited weapon or ammunition, and conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life or enable another to do so. The officers found a huge stash of 79 gunsCredit:STIAN ALEXANDER One of the guns recovered from a vehicle on the French side of the Channel Tunnel Credit:NCA/PA Ammunition found in the vanCredit:NCA/PA An NCA spokesman said: “Our officers believe these weapons were destined for criminals in London and across the country.“Because of the number of guns, it’s inevitable that over time they would be associated with all types of violent crime.” The weapons were seized in a joint operation by Scotland Yard and the National Crime Agency (NCA), Britain’s equivalent of the FBI.An NCA source said investigations “over a number of days” suggested that a gang would try to smuggle the weapons into Britain over the weekend. An arsenal of 79 handguns bound for Britain’s gangs and violent criminals has been found hidden in engine blocks being ferried by van through the Channel Tunnel.Police seized the weapons cache after a tip off the pistols were to be smuggled into the UK over the weekend.One senior officer said there was “no doubt” the firearms and ammunition were headed to the streets of Britain, where they “would have caused misery and unspeakable damage”.