Members of a gang, accused of smuggling automatic weapons into the UK by boat, used lyrics from a song by rapper the Notorious BIG to discuss their arrival, a court has heard.

Words from Gimme the Loot were used in an encrypted message between Harry Shilling, 25, and Michael Defraine, 30, the Old Bailey jury heard.

They, along with two other defendants, are accused of illegally importing 31 weapons across the Channel.

All four deny the charges against them.

The other two defendants are Jennifer Arthy, 42, from Cuxton in Kent, and John Smale, 58, from Rochester, Kent. All four are on trial for gun smuggling and possessing firearms with intent to endanger life.

The guns – 22 assault rifles similar to AK-47s, and nine Skorpion sub-machine guns – were worth more than £100,000 and were brought into Kent from Boulogne in France on a 38ft (12m) cruiser, the MV Albernina, the jury has heard.

Some of the weapons seized by the National Crime Agency after an investigation into the suspected illegal importation of firearmsMore than 20 AK47-style assault rifles were seized

All had originally been deactivated but were reactivated before they, along with a large amount of ammunition, were smuggled up the Medway into Kent, arriving near Cuxton Marina on 10 August last year.

But the National Crime Agency (NCA) had the plotters under surveillance and swooped to seize the cache before it could be buried and then passed into the wrong hands.

The jury heard that in messages between Mr Shilling and Mr Defraine they used slang terms for drugs and money – “gear” and “paper” .

The Gimme the Loot lyrics were included in a message from Mr Defraine which read: “I’m ready to got this paper g you with me… my pockets looking kinda tight and I’m stressed yo munky let me get the vest”.

The jury had previously heard about an email from Mr Shilling to Mr Defraine, saying “We now officially gangsters”.