Hand in unwanted firearms call by police

Gun Rack

Gun Rack

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A week-long opportunity for people to surrender unwanted firearms and ammunition will begin in Lancashire at 8am on Monday.

The surrender, in response to a law change in July, is codenamed Operation Holster and will allow owners of antique or unwanted firearms to hand them over without fear of prosecution.

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

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

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

“Despite the fact that firearms and imitation firearms are often handed into Lancashire Police, 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. 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.

A similar Greater Manchester Police scheme in July saw a total of 225 weapons and more than 3,500 rounds of ammunition handed in over a two week period.

Last month Lancashire officers commenced a series of unannounced visits to firearms owners to ensure their guns are kept securely and do not end up in the hands of criminals.

Anyone wishing to hand-in firearms should disarm them and put them in a box or strong bag and putting ammunition in a separate box/bag.