Shock over increase in gun thefts
MORE than 40 guns have been stolen in Suffolk in the space of four years, The Evening Star can reveal today.New figures show that between 2003 and last year, 43 guns, including shotguns, rifles and handguns, have been “misappropriated”, a term including stolen guns as well as those obtained by fraud or forgery.
MORE than 40 guns have been stolen in Suffolk in the space of four years, The Evening Star can reveal today.
New figures show that between 2003 and last year, 43 guns, including shotguns, rifles and handguns, have been “misappropriated”, a term including stolen guns as well as those obtained by fraud or forgery.
It is not clear how many of the weapons are remain at large on the streets of Suffolk.
The alarming figure includes 33 shotguns, seven rifles and three handguns and is nearly twice the number of misappropriations as there were in Greater Manchester during the same period (22).
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The figures came to light after David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, tabled a parliamentary question.
He said: “these are concerning figures and one wonders in whose hands they are falling. It shows Suffolk is not exempt from a depressing national trend of ever greater gun use and gun crime.
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“Although we are a predominantly rural county we are not exempt from this.”
Mr Ruffley added that he feels more needs to be done nationally to tackle gun crime including the introduction of a border police force to work with immigration and customs and excise.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “A theft of a weapon is treated extremely seriously by Suffolk Constabulary, and we would urge anyone with information about stolen weapons to contact police immediately.
“Fortunately, in Suffolk, incidents involving the theft of a firearm are relatively low. Anyone who holds a firearms certificate is responsible for the security of the firearm and ammunition.
“It is expected that the firearms are securely locked away, and anyone who fails to take such precautions can be prosecuted.”
Suffolk is not renowned for gun crime, in fact figures published in 2004 showed Suffolk had the least gun crime in the East of England for 2003 with only 28 reported incidents.
However this figure was nearly twice (87 per cent) the figure for the previous year.
The most high profile gun crime incident in Suffolk in recent years came in December 2006 when 24-year-old Londoner Jimoh Plunkett was shot at Zest nightclub in the town.
As yet nobody has been charged with Mr Plunkett's murder.
It has been suggested that the gun used in that murder may have been imported in to the UK from Europe.
Are you concerned by the revelations about stolen guns? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail email@example.com
shotguns rifles handguns
2003/04 15 2 0
2004/05 6 1 0
2005/06 4 0 0
2006/07 8 5 3
Total 33 7 3