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 Public urged to hand in weapons during two week firearms surrender

 19/07/2019

​Durham Constabulary, along with other police forces across England & Wales, are appealing for the public to hand over unwanted guns during a two week surrender of firearms and ammunition, starting on Saturday 20 July 2019.

The surrender is an opportunity to dispose of weapons by simply handing them in at local designated police stations.

During the campaign period, those handing over firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession - at the point of surrender- and can remain anonymous if they choose to.

This summer's campaign has a particular focus on firearms, stun devices and pepper sprays. Police want to highlight the danger and illegality of these items, and remind people that possession could lead to a prison sentence.

PC Mark Outhwaite, Firearms Examiner at Cleveland & Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “We’re fortunate that we have a very low firearms crime rate in our area, and maintaining that means keeping as many potentially dangerous items off the street as possible.

“We find that the most common items seized in the region are the likes of noxious sprays and stun devices, which are classed as firearms and are prohibited. In particular, any firearm considered to be disguised can result in a minimum five year prison sentence, so now is a great opportunity to hand them in.”

The surrender initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). The surrender will run for two weeks from Saturday, July 20 to Sunday, August 4 2019.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Clews, Head of NABIS, added: “Even though UK firearm offences remain at relatively low levels compared to other countries, we cannot be complacent, and this surrender will help remove further potential harm from our communities.”

During Durham’s previous firearms surrender in 2017 over sixty weapons were handed in, including shotguns, air weapons, and stun devices disguised as mobile phones and flashlights.

Also expected to be surrendered are so-called ‘trophies of war’.

PC Outhwaite said: “Firearms were often brought home by soldiers after the first and second world wars, and in many cases these antique weapons have remained in lofts ever since.

“If anything is handed in to us that may be of historical interest, we’ll contact the Leeds Pattern Rooms. Everything else will be destroyed once the surrender has concluded.”

Anyone handing in or transporting a firearm, ammunition or any other weapon during the surrender is advised to check the opening times of their local station in advance by calling 101 or visiting www.durham.police.uk.

If you have any information relating to illegal firearms, call police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555 111.