137 guns and 4,240 rounds of ammunition were handed into Lancashire Constabulary during a two-week surrender, where police forces across the north west urged people to ‘give up the gun’.
The surrender, which ran from Monday 4 April until Monday 18 April, saw 38 air rifles, 29 air pistols, 22 handguns, 19 shotguns, six rifles and three antique firearms amongst those handed in.
Chief Insp Mark Baines said: “Clearly it’s concerning to see so many dangerous weapons on the street but taking these firearms and ammunition out of circulation can only be a good thing. We’re delighted so many firearms have been handed in.
“This was another opportunity for people to do the right thing and get rid of these potentially deadly weapons. Many of the weapons are old but many remain live and if fired are capable of killing. All it would take is one burglary for a gun to be stolen and end up in criminal hands.”
Those who surrendered firearms during the two-week period may not face prosecution for the illegal possession and could choose to remain anonymous. However, each firearm handed in will be assessed by firearms officers, with some weapons now being forensically checked for evidence. After any evidential issues have been explored the majority of the items will be destroyed.
It’s been around 18 months since the force last asked members of the public to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.
In the 2014 surrender, a total of 103 guns including shotguns, air guns, pistols, rifles and revolvers were handed in along with 3,419 rounds of ammunition.
Chief Insp Baines added: “Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate their local communities.
“Communities hold the key to helping reduce firearm-related crime. If you know of anyone involved in illegal firearms activity call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Every call to Crimestoppers is anonymous and potentially vital to preventing or solving serious crimes; removing an illegally held firearm may just save someone’s life.”
Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £1,000 for information that leads to the recovery of a firearm and an arrest and conviction.