Renewed appeal in BB gun amnesty

POLICE have today urged more owners of ball bearing (BB) guns to hand them in, following a disappointing start to their month-long amnesty.Just six were handed in at Ipswich so far - prompting police to re-issue warnings that those carrying them in public could end up looking down the barrel of a real firearm.

POLICE have today urged more owners of ball bearing (BB) guns to hand them in, following a disappointing start to their month-long amnesty.

Just six were handed in at Ipswich so far - prompting police to re-issue warnings that those carrying them in public could end up looking down the barrel of a real firearm.

Inspector Alex Morrison of Suffolk police warned that the weapons look so real that they have no option but to send armed officers when they receive calls that they have been sighted.

He said: “It is getting to be more and more of a problem - these weapons are readily available over the internet and from shops.


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“BB guns often look so realistic they can be deemed an imitation firearm, and if you take one into a public place you will be prosecuted.

“But there are other risks. Firearms officers are highly trained but they often have to make split-second decisions about whether members of the public, or they themselves, are in danger.”

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The renewed plea comes following an incident in Lowestoft in which a man was taken to hospital after being shot with a BB gun.

The ball bearing penetrated his skin and became lodged close to his spine, requiring an operation to remove it.

Inspector Morrison said: “The risks are higher at night-time because even less realistic looking toy guns can seem very threatening when all you can see is a silhouette.

“We are regularly having to respond to calls from alarmed members of the public who see these guns and think they are real.

“Several people have been arrested recently around Suffolk and are now going through the courts.”

People concerned about owning a BB gun or parents who do not want their child to have them any more can now arrange to have them collected and destroyed by Suffolk police by calling 01473 613500.

Police would like to speak to anyone who has information about the shooting in Lowestoft which left a 47-year-old cyclist in hospital.

He was cycling along Kirkley Cliff Road between Cliff Road and the Hotel Victoria between 7.40am and 8am on Saturday when he felt a sharp pain.

When he returned home he found the pellet had penetrated three layers of clothing and deep into his skin, causing bleeding.

Officers are keen to speak to the occupants of a black car, possibly a Citroen Xantia or similar, and anyone with any information should contact Lowestoft police on 01986 835300.

Have you been alarmed by the sight of a realistic looking gun in public? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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