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Police launch gun amnesty in bid to keep weapons away from criminals

An array of weapons displayed by Richard Kennett, firearms licensing manager, ahead of a previous amnesty in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSON

An array of weapons displayed by Richard Kennett, firearms licensing manager, ahead of a previous amnesty in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Police across the region are launching a two-week amnesty on the surrender of guns.

The firearms purge is part of a national campaign to persuade people in possession of unlicensed weapons to hand them over without fear of prosecution.

The campaign runs from Monday, November 13, in a bid to lower the number of illegal firearms in local supply chains – stifling availability to criminals.

The appeal includes unwanted firearms, imitation guns, BB guns, and air or gas-powered weapons.

Richard Kennett, firearms licensing manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “Some people may have unregistered, old weapons they have forgotten about, or have received one through inheritance that they no longer use, or that they don’t know what to do with.

Richard Kennett, firearms licensing manager, ahead of a previous amnesty in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSONRichard Kennett, firearms licensing manager, ahead of a previous amnesty in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSON

“Although such weapons aren’t being used for crimes, it’s important that they are handed in to the police to stop them from falling into the wrong hands.”

Firearms can be surrendered at police stations, or public enquiry offices at Martlesham headquarters, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich or Lowestoft.

They should be unloaded and covered, and people are encouraged to call ahead on 101.

Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “We live in a rural county and I know people end up with guns they don’t know what to do with.

“This is an ideal opportunity to safely dispose of them. I appreciate these guns are not used for crime, but the less guns in the county, the less likely they are to fall into wrong hands.”

During last year’s amnesty in Essex, where offences involving firearms rose 17% since 2014, 129 weapons and 27 whole rounds of ammunition were surrendered.

This time, police are keen to receive antique or war trophy weapons, imitation firearms, air weapons and BB guns.

Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Fordham said: “In the last three years, we’ve seen a concerning rise in the number of offences involving a firearm – from 768 to 900.

“This surrender will give you the opportunity to safely dispose of any unwanted or unlicensed firearms and ammunition safely, ensuring they do 
not fall into the wrong hands.”

Firearms can be handed in at Basildon, Braintree, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Grays, Harlow and Southend police stations.

The history of each live weapon will be checked to see if they have been involved in a crime.

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