ILLEGAL or unlicenced guns can be handed into police stations across Warwickshire as part of a national gun surrender.
It runs until next Sunday, 26th November, and is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) with all forces in England and Wales taking part.
People handing in firearms will not be required to leave any information but if police suspect a weapon may have been involved in a crime, they will examine it for evidence.
They will then either be destroyed or in exceptional circumstances, if the weapon has historical value, it may be donated to a museum.
Some 113 guns were handed in to police station across Warwickshire during the last surrender in 2014, the vast majority of these were not being used for criminal use.
Thirty knives were handed into Stratford-upon-Avon Police Station during a knife surrender.
Chief Inspector Mark Colquhoun, of Warwickshire Police, said: “Compared with other areas of the country we don’t have a significant gun problem, but we are keen to support this national campaign to help keep our communities safe. The whole aim is to remove any firearms that could potentially be used in a crime from public circulation.
“Our policing area has a large number of licensed firearms owners, and this is also an opportunity for them to hand in old weapons or guns they no longer require. The majority of the firearms handed in during the last surrender were older items that the owner no longer needed and wanted to safely dispose of.
“People may have older or historical weapons stored in lofts or garages which have been inherited or passed down through the family, and these can also be disposed of during the surrender. While these are not being used for criminal activities, they can and sometimes do fall into the wrong hands and can then be used to commit crimes.
“By participating in the surrender, people can be confident that items have been safely disposed of. Every firearm surrendered is one less weapon that can be used to commit crime.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Seccombe, said: “Gun crime is still thankfully rare in Warwickshire, but protecting people from harm is key commitment in my Police and Crime Plan, so this gun surrender campaign is welcome news.
“We are a predominately rural county with large numbers of registered shotgun and firearms holders who have legitimate access to weapons.
“However, I’d urge everyone to take stock and consider whether they need all the firearms and ammunition they own and if not, take advantage of this surrender to hand them in to be safely and securely disposed of.
“Any weapon has the potential to fall into the wrong hands, so each one surrendered is one less with the potential to cause a death or serious injury.”
Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and if you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply it can lead to a life sentence.
Guns and ammunition, including replica firearms, BB guns and antique weapons, can be surrendered at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington, and at police stations in Rugby and Nuneaton.
Anyone handing an item in is advised to call 101 and notify police of the time and station they will be attending.