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James Pearson was magnet fishing with two friends at the city’s Union Canal when he dragged out a semi-automatic M1 Garand assault weapon.
THe 45-year-old immediately called police to report the find and the firearm was taken away for disposal by two armed response officers.
The magnet fisherman said: “We had been out for around an hour when my magnet clicked on to something heavy and I pulled it in.
“As soon I saw it was a firearm I phoned the police and armed response officers arrived soon after.
“They inspected it and advised me it was real and took it away to be disposed of.
“It was in surprisingly very good condition and still had the leather strap for carrying it attached.”
James, from Musselburgh, East Lothian, has been magnet fishing for around three years after being inspired by a Youtube video on the pastime.
He has recently set up the Magnet Fishing Scotland group which is gathering attention on social media.
He added: “Magnet fishing is attaching a high powered magnet onto a rope and throwing it into a body of water to remove any metal items.”
“It’s relatively inexpensive and anyone can join in. You fish from the bank and I would never advise going into the water as you never know the undercurrent.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a firearm found in the Union Canal in Edinburgh around 11.05am on Saturday, 20 November.
“The item has been recovered safely and further enquiries are being carried out.”