More than 100 items collected so far during firearms surrender

More than 100 items have been surrendered to Wiltshire Police so far during a national firearms surrender.

Items collected include 14 shotguns, 13 pistols, 12 air rifles, one antique musket and an empty 1916 tear gas grenade. Ammunition has also been collected with some of the firearms.

The force is half way through a two week surrender, which runs until Sunday 26 November,  and is appealing for people to hand over unlicensed or unwanted firearms and ammunition.

Inspector Barry Hickman said, “I’m very pleased with the response we’ve had from the public so far and by the number of weapons that have been handed in to us.

“The fight against gun crime is stronger than ever and we are working with partners and our local communities to safeguard, educate and intervene at the earliest opportunity.

“We use various tactics to locate weapons that have fallen into the wrong hands – but we need the public’s help. We want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to hand them in.

“During the surrender we want people to hand in illegally-held guns and ammunition, those used for criminal purposes or that you have been asked to hide for someone else. We will also accept other unwanted guns and ammunition including air guns and imitations firearms.

“One weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities.”

The number of firearms handed in to Wiltshire Police in the first week of the surrender is more than three times the number handed in at this point during the last firearm surrender in 2015.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “I would like to applaud Wiltshire Police for this welcome initiative, and the people who have come forward so far to surrender unlicensed or unwanted firearms.

“Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country and this campaign will help to keep it that way.

“Every weapon handed in helps to makes our county that bit safer by removing the risk of the firearms getting into the wrong hands or being accidentally fired.”

Weapons and ammunition can be surrendered at six police stations across Wiltshire: Bourne Hill (Salisbury), Gablecross (Swindon), Marlborough, Melksham, Monkton Park (Chippenham) and Trowbridge.

Wiltshire Police is committed to robustly investigating serious crime and protecting the public. The firearms surrender removes guns from the streets, but does not prevent the police from investigating the background to any of the firearms handed in. Where there is evidence to follow up a prosecution the police will continue to do so.

Anyone handing in a firearm, ammunition or any other weapon during the surrender is advised to check the opening times of their station by visiting the Wiltshire Police website or calling 101.

If you know of people involved in illegal firearms call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

This is a firearms surrender as opposed to an amnesty. Those surrendering firearms will be granted immunity from prosecution for the offence of possession, but not for the lifetime of the firearm. Each weapon handed in will be forensically tested to check for any connection to past offences or investigations.