AIRGUN owners will soon face fines if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent children from gaining access to their weapon.
A new offence being introduced by the government means people in Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire could be fined up to £1,000 if anyone under 18 gets hold of their airgun without authorisation from February 10.
Owners are urged to store airguns in lockable cupboards inside the home and keep keys and pellets separate.
Crime prevention minister James Brokenshire said: ‘Although serious incidents are rare, there have been cases in recent years where children have got hold of carelessly-stored airguns that have resulted in severe injuries and even deaths. We want to do everything in our power to keep the risk of such incidents to an absolute minimum. With this new legislation, we are saying there is no excuse. If you do not keep your airgun safely away from children you will be prosecuted.’
Adrian Whiting, from the Association of Chief Police Officers said: ‘Responsible owners already take sensible precautions to ensure safe storage of their air weapons. This control will place no additional burden on them.’