Plea to surrender firearms extended

Supt Jon Puttock shows some of the guns seized off Lancashire's streets ahead of a weapon amnesty.
Supt Jon Puttock shows some of the guns seized off Lancashire's streets ahead of a weapon amnesty.
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Deadly weapons and ammunition have been surrendered in Fleetwood in response to a police campaign to get guns off the streets.

Police report that boxes of rimfire bullets, a large amount of live shotgun ammunition and a replica revolver are among the items handed in as part of Operation Holster.

The amnesty has been such a great success police have extended it until Sunday, giving people more chance to hand over any antique or unwanted firearms without fear of prosecution.

Supt Jon Puttock, who is leading the Lancashire-wide campaign said: “We have been really pleased with the response to our campaign and would urge people to use this opportunity to surrender any unwanted or unlicensed weapons, to avoid the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and dispose of firearms and ammunition in a safe place.”

The live shotgun ammunition was handed in from someone who had retired from farming and wanted to dispose of it.

The replica revolver was found by someone who was clearing out a deceased relative’s house.

In the first week, 55 ballistic items were surrendered across the county, including a stun gun disguised as a torch, several handguns, more than 1,800 rounds of assorted live ammunition and a selection of shotguns and shotgun components, air weapons and pistols.

The campaign is the first time in nine years that Lancashire Police has asked members of the public to surrender unlawfully held guns.

It follows a change in the law last year that imposes tougher punishments on those caught illegally possessing a firearm.

Supt Puttock added: “Police officers are called to attend reports of people seen in public places with firearms on a regular basis.

“There are still unlawfully-held firearms in the county, be it trophy or antique weapons such as from military conflict, or firearms which people have acquired from a relative.

“People may have firearms that belong to other people, who have inherited them, or may have been overlooked or forgotten.”

Anyone taking part in the surrender will be safe from prosecution and can remain anonymous if they wish. However, the history of live weapons will be checked for evidence of use in crimes. The majority of weapons handed in have been done anonymously with no questions asked.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, from Fleetwood,said: “The penalties for illegal possession of a firearm are severe – and the consequences could be even greater if they subsequently fall into the wrong hands. We are fortunate that gun crime in Lancashire remains low.”

Guns can be handed in locally at Fleetwood and Poulton Police Stations.