MORE than 350 guns were handed in to police in Hampshire during a fortnight-long firearms surrender.
The police force ran a joint campaign with Thames Valley Police, starting on November 13, which in total saw more than 500 firearms handed in.
Firearms handed in across Hampshire included a number of working illegally held self-loading pistols and working revolvers from the First World War, including two that were used in the Battle of the Somme.
Others included a gun made to look like walking stick, which was handed in on the Isle of Wight, and another made to look like a pen.
A number of illegally held shotguns, including a sawn-off shotgun, were handed in, as well as a revolver made in 1893, handguns, rifles and numerous air rifles and air pistols. Other surrendered items include deactivated and imitation firearms and BB guns.
The surrender urged people to take the opportunity to hand in any unwanted or illegal firearms to police, so that they could be disposed of safely.
In Hampshire, as well as the 351 firearms, 95 quantities of ammunition were handed in. Across the Thames Valley, more than 200 firearms were surrendered in the campaign, which was run by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service.
During the campaign, those surrendering firearms did not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous. However, this was not an amnesty and if further examination of a surrendered firearm reveals a link to a crime, this will be investigated.
Chief Inspector Emma Baillie, head of armed response for Hampshire and Thames Valley, said: ‘We would like to thank everyone who handed in any firearms or ammunition.
‘This means that there are 351 fewer firearms and imitation firearms on our streets which could have easily fallen into the hands of criminals.
‘As a result our neighbourhoods are much safer, both for our residents and for our officers who work every day and night to protect them.
‘We are very pleased that so many people took the opportunity to take part in this initiative and the number of firearms recovered certainly proves how valuable such a surrender is. Gun crime is low in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and has not seen a rise that other force areas have, however we cannot be complacent and we will continue to do all we can to make our communities safer.’
Now the surrender is finished, anyone who finds a firearm or are uncertain about the lawful possession of a firearm, call 101 or 999 in an emergency.