Picture supplied by the South African Police Services
Durban - Toy guns, one of which had been modified into a working weapon, have been used in crimes in KwaZulu-Natal.

A firearm expert said that while the conversion “was easy”, it was also dangerous.

The toy gun which had been ­converted to a working firearm was found on a suspect on Tuesday by the eThekwini South Cluster Task Team.

The cluster’s spokeswoman, Priya Nunkumar, said the task team apprehended the suspect in Welbedacht East after a tip-off.

“The team recovered a modified toy firearm, along with four rounds of ammunition and four blank rounds of ammunition. The suspect was detained at Chatsworth police station and appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.”

Gun Owners South Africa spokesman Paul Oxley said that modifying a toy gun or making improvised weapons was “so easy”, but that generally such weapons could only be used once.

“It might go bang once or twice before it blows up in the shooter’s hand. It would have no accuracy beyond point blank range, but could certainly be lethal,” said Oxley.

He added that manufacturing any device that could be classified as a firearm was a crime.

In another crime involving a toy gun, a family was hijacked in Mooi River on Wednesday at about midday. KwaZulu-Natal SAPS spokeswoman Thembeka Mbhele said a 45-year-old man, his wife and their two children were driving in the Giant’s Castle area when they were accosted by two men with a firearm, a hammer and knives.

Mbhele said the suspects got into the car and drove around with them until late afternoon when they stopped at a garage in Lyell Street, Ladysmith. The parents and one of the children escaped, but the suspects drove off with the couple’s 9-year-old son.

The vehicle was later found along the N3 at the Wagendrift turnoff near Estcourt, and the child rescued.

The gun, found with other weapons, turned out to be a toy, said Mbhele.

Independent on Saturday