A Stroud angler believes the wartime German machine gun fished out of the River Frome would have been caught by a magnet fisherman.
The fisherman hauled out the German World War Two weapon – along with a number of bullets from a different gun.
“I would be surprised if he caught it on his hook, so it would be the work of magnetic fishing which is popular with anglers who want to find unusual objects lurking underwater, said Stroud angler, Clive Johnson.
The rusty MP-40 was the weapon of choice for the Nazi German Army – known as the Wehrmacht.
But this one was pulled out of the River Frome by an angler – who called the police.
Experts say it is possible that the weapon was ditched by a German spy, who were known to have brought weapons to Britain.
It may have been brought to Britain as contraband by a British soldier after the war – or dumped by a collector.
Alex Bomberg, CEO of Eastington based Intelligent Protection International Limited, believes more war treasure is likely to be in the river, he said: “The fact that the weapon was discovered with other rounds of (military) ammunition would have one suspect that there may well be more items lurking in the river.
“It is quite likely that this weapon was bought back to England during the war or in the post-war years as a trophy.
“I really hope that the body of the weapon is in good enough condition for a serial number to be discovered, this would likely give an indication of the weapon’s history, year of manufacture, and possibly even the unit it was shipped to; if such records still exist.
“Is it likely to be the discarded weapon of a WW2 spy? Not likely most would have deployed with pistols such as the Mauser HSc that used similar ammunition to those discovered.”
The gun was recovered by Gloucestershire Police’s Special Ops Unit who attended the scene after being called by the fisherman.
A spokesperson for the police later said: “We were called to help out a fisherman today who pulled something a bit different from the river: This German sub-machine gun is a piece of history, which could be as old as 1940, “We wouldn’t advise eating this one. The weapon is going to be examined by our force armourer.”