A JUDGE has ordered the destruction of nearly 13,000 AK47 rifles associated with jailed York arms dealer Gary Hyde – after turning down a request for them to be deactivated for use in films.

Former special constable Hyde, 42, was jailed for seven years last December for overseeing an £800,000 consignment of rifles, 9mm pistols, rifles and bullets, from China to Nigeria in 2007.

The businessman, from Newton-on-Derwent, east of York, “put two fingers up” to strict laws set up to control the trade and transportation of weapons, the courts heard. He smuggled 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, 30,000 other rifles, 10,000 9mm pistols and 32m rounds of ammunition.

Yesterday, in Southwark Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith ruled 12,771 seized AK-47s as well as hundreds of other guns should be seized and destroyed. The order will be suspended, pending the outcome of an appeal against conviction by Hyde.

David Wood, for Hyde, opposed the destruction order and said the weapons could be deactivated and sold to film studios.

James Berry, representing the chief constable of Lincolnshire, said there was a “risk of reactivation” even if the weapons were deactivated.

He said he doubted whether such a large number of firearms would find their way into films, adding: “It would have to be a pretty monumental war film to need almost 13,000 firearms.”

Robert Spencer-Bernard, speaking for a shareholder in Skydock which owns the guns, also argued against destroying the weapons.

Hyde was in high demand for his expertise and won contracts from the Ministry of Defence and US Government, but he was found guilty of failing to acquire a licence from the British Government which would have legitimised the deal, and was subsequently ordered to repay £782,142.57 within six months or face a further four years in jail.