Mark Thomas puts the arms trade under the spotlight in this special edition of Dispatches, asking how easy it is to broker arms. Working his way through a spider’s web of vast and, in some cases, archaic legislation, Thomas unearths a series of dangerous loopholes, inconsistencies and, even more shocking, simple omissions that would have the most avaricious arms broker salivating with glee.
The programme highlights the international trade route that runs from Eastern Europe to the Far East and the twists and turns that make it possible to broker equipment like thumb cuffs, wall cuffs and the particularly menacing sting stick (two-foot metals bars covered with sharp spikes) within the existing UK guidelines.
In his inimitable style, Thomas highlights the shocking impact of this trade route not just in war-torn countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but also in our own backyard. But nothing prepares Thomas for the possibilities that open up when he discovers a neighbouring European country with no brokerage laws.