Police urge gun owners to hand in their firearms

Chief Inspector Emma Baillie
Chief Inspector Emma Baillie
David Cotton. Picture: Sussex Police

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PEOPLE are being urged to hand in their guns in a two-week operation run by police.

Family heirlooms, BB guns, air rifles and shotguns are being accepted at police stations in the area, and no-one will face prosecution for their possession.

But Hampshire police – who said gun crime is rare in the county – said they will take action if they trace the weapon back to any crimes.

Chief Inspector Emma Baillie, head of armed response at Hampshire police, said: ‘This is your chance to safely dispose of any guns or ammunition you no longer want but don’t know what to do with.

‘Surrender them now and we can dispose of them safely, making sure that they do not fall into the hands of criminals.

‘We know that the consequences of firearms or replica firearms falling into the wrong hands can be fatal and can cause real fear within our communities.

‘They also have the potential of being used against our own officers who could find themselves confronted with someone wielding a weapon in public.’

Recent gun cases include a would-be robber walking up and down Cosham high street trying to talk himself out of robbing a bookies with an air pistol he had hidden in a bag.

And The News reported in 2015 how three teenagers were jailed for robbing a man at gunpoint in Fareham with an M41 toy BB gun.

During the two-week firearms surrender operation police will accept replica firearms, imitation firearms, antique guns, component parts and other ballistic items. But anyone with historic ordnance is advised to call police on 101 first.

Ch Insp Baillie added: ‘We know that every firearm poses a potential threat if they are not licensed and stored safely.

‘That is why we are offering this opportunity to safely hand in your unwanted firearms. The fight against gun crime is stronger than ever.

‘We take all reports of incidents involving firearms extremely seriously and robust action will be taken against anyone who commits a firearms related offence.’

In the last hand-in operation in 2014, 122 firearms were handed in over 12 days.

They included a triple-barrelled shotgun, a Second World War Lancaster sub-machine gun, a First World War trench flare gun, and automatic rifles.

You can hand in guns at:

n Havant station, in Civic Centre Road, between 8am to 8pm, Monday to Thursday.

n Fareham station, in Quay Street, between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Sunday.