Police have seized what could be the parts for Britain's first firearm made using 3-D printing, Greater Manchester Police said Friday.
Officers found "a 3D printer and what is suspected to be a 3D plastic magazine and trigger which could be fitted together to make a viable 3D gun" when they searched a number of addresses Thursday in the Baguley area, near Manchester in northwest England, the force said.
"If they are found to be viable components for a 3D gun, it would be the first ever seizure of this kind in the UK," it said in a statement.
Firearms specialists are examining the parts to see if they could be used to construct a workable firearm, the statement said.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of making gunpowder and is being questioned.
Detective Inspector Chris Mossop warned that 3-D printing could open the way to the next generation of firearms.
"In theory, the technology essentially allows offenders to produce their own guns in the privacy of their own home, which they can then supply to the criminal gangs who are causing such misery in our communities," he is quoted as saying. "Because they are also plastic and can avoid X-ray detection, it makes them easy to conceal and smuggle."
Others have also raised concerns about the potential for 3-D printing to be used to create weapons.
This year, the U.S. State Department ordered Defense Distributed, a nonprofit group set up by a Texas law student, to remove instructions for printing a handgun with a 3-D printer from its website.
The group's founder, Cody Wilson, had posted a video online showing a single shot being fired from "The Liberator," a plastic handgun that, with the exception of a metal firing pin and a piece of metal included to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act, was assembled entirely from parts made with a 3-D printer.
Wilson complied with the order, but not before the design had been downloaded more than 100,000 times.
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London subsequently acquired two models of the Liberator pistol, which were put on display last month as part of a design exhibition.
The Science Museum in London also has a Liberator on display.
CNN's Lindsay Isaac and Arion McNicoll contributed to this report.