One of the largest hauls of guns ever recovered in the capital in a 24-hour period has been seized following the dramatic stop of a taxi in Battersea yesterday.

Trident detectives swooped on the minicab in York Road at approximately 2.50pm on Wednesday as shocked motorists looked on.

The only passenger in the cab was a 22-year-old man who had a black bag next to him on a rear seat which contained a Colt 45 handgun loaded with six rounds of ammunition.

Later in the afternoon, the man's home address in Tower Hamlets was searched by police and six further firearms, including a Webley Olympic 32 revolver and a Jackal beretta with silencer, were found.

Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "This is one of the largest hauls in 24 hours I have seen in my career as a police officer.

"It is hugely significant to take this number of guns off the streets."

Other items recovered included an Italian police handgun loaded with six rounds of ammunition, a bag containing a large quantity of ammunition and a CS gas cannister.

The 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of firearms and he remains in custody at a south London police station.

DCI Rebecca Reeves, of the Trident Gang Crime Command, said: "We are at the early stage of evaluating the evidence, but I am certain that these guns were linked to gangs in Lambeth and elsewhere in south London.

"Thanks to the decisive and brave actions of officers yesterday, we will never know how much pain these seven guns would have caused in the hands of the criminals who sought to use them."