Huge haul of weapons - from an AK47 assault rifle to vintage muzzle-loading rifles - handed in during police amnesty

By Ben Fitzgerald - 6 August 2019

CommunityCrime

More than 190 items were handed into Wiltshire Police during the National Firearms Surrender.

The two-week surrender finished on Sunday with 65 firearms, 24 flares and 21 rounds of ammunition being handed in.

The firearms surrendered included: air rifles, a deactivated AK-47, shotguns, BB guns, starter pistols and a Mauser Machine Pistol. There were also two First World War bolt-action rifles and even a few even older muzzle-loading rifles.

The surrender also saw members of the public handing in items that could be considered dangerous in the wrong hands, including 82 knives, two pepper spray canisters, mace spray and black powder propellant.

Inspector Paul Saunders, said “Wiltshire continues to be one of the safest counties to live in the country, and thankfully incidents involving firearms remain low.

“Overall, we have had a really positive response from the public and it means there are 65 fewer unwanted firearms and unlicensed firearms in our community.

“As well as asking people to consider surrendering their firearms, it has given us an opportunity to talk about them.

“Wiltshire is largely a rural county, we know there are people who legally own or collect firearms, so during these two weeks we have been appealing to them to think about the safety of their guns. How they store them, who could have access, where they are using them and how they are transporting them.

“The items handed in during the surrender have demonstrated how air guns, something you do not ordinarily require a license for, are designed to look very similar to live firearms and, if not handled carefully or seen by the public, could trigger a full police firearms response.  

The majority of firearms collected will be destroyed. However, some will be kept for training purposes and other antique items are likely to be passed to museums for them to display.

Inspector Saunders added: “Although this firearms surrender has now finished, I would like to remind members of the public that guns, knives and ammunition can be handed in at police enquiry offices at any time.

“Many firearms are held without awareness of their legality or may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes. I would urge the public that if you are not using your firearm, or if you have found an old one when tidying out the loft or shed, please take responsibility and safely dispose of it by handing it in to us.

“Firearms can have devastating consequences in the wrong hands, whether that is the hands of criminals, children, or vulnerable people”.

If you know of people involved in illegal firearms activity call the police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always call 999.

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.

 

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