Police launch amnesty to get guns off streets

Clive Grunshaw police and crime commissioner
Clive Grunshaw police and crime commissioner

A week long amnesty to allow people to surrender unwanted firearms and ammunition begins today.

The surrender – codenamed Operation Holster – means antique or unwanted firearms can be handed in without fear of prosecution.

Police say many firearms may be held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes.

Operation Holster gives holders the chance to dispose of the firearm and ammunition safely by handing it in at a police station.

Supt Jon Puttock said: “We would encourage people to check their attics, sheds and cupboards and hand weapons in. Throughout the week, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession and, if they wish, can remain anonymous.”

However, the history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of its use in crimes.

New firearms legislation came into effect in July increasing the maximum jail term for illegal gun possession with aggravating features from 10 years to life and now includes anyone who is storing a weapon for someone else. It also includes antique firearms amid fears obsolete weapons can be made viable by criminals with ballistics know-how.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw 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.”

Guns can be handed in at:

Fleetwood, North Church Street Fleetwood FY7 6HJ. Open 9am-8pm Monday to Sunday

Poulton Market Place Poulton le Fylde FY6 7AS. Open 10am-6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)

Blackpool, Bonny Street Blackpool FY1 5RL. Open 8am – 10pm Monday to Sunday

Bispham, Red Bank Road Blackpool FY2 0HJ. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm - 3pm)

Kirkham, Freckleton Street Kirkham Preston PR4 2SN. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm - 3pm)

St Annes , St Andrews Road North Lytham St Anne’s FY8 2JF. Open 10am–6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm-3pm)