‘It could be a life saved’ - Police urge people to surrender illegal guns
- Credit: NABIS
People in Norfolk can hand in unwanted or illegal guns under a national surrender on firearms and ammunition being backed by the county's police force.
The campaign, which is being coordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) runs until May 29, and firearms can be surrendered at police stations in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.
Those handing in guns will not face prosecution for illegal possession at the point of surrender and can remain anonymous.
The items that people in Norfolk are being urged to surrender include replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, component parts and other ballistic items currently lawfully held.
Darrell Skuse, firearms licensing manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, said: "Although we are fortunate that crimes involving firearms are not common in Norfolk, the reality is that they do happen occasionally and we want to take this opportunity to further reduce the risk.
“The aim of this campaign is for people to hand in as many firearms as possible, as every weapon that is removed from the public sphere is one more that is prevented from potentially falling into the pool of criminally used weapons.”
Police said many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in peoples’ homes, while some are held legally and are no longer required.
The rural nature of Norfolk with more legitimate shooting pursuits means the county has one of the highest numbers of lawfully held firearms per head of the population nationally.
Mr Skuse said the surrender allows people to hand in unwanted or illegal items avoiding the risk of them being acquired by criminals.
“It will avoid these weapons getting into the wrong hands and provide members of the community with a safe place to dispose of any firearms and ammunition they have, whether held lawfully or unlawfully,” he added.
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Giles Orpen-Smellie, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, said “every weapon that is handed over is possibly a life saved”.
Firearms can be surrendered to Norwich police at Bethel Street and at Great Yarmouth Police Station in Howard Street North and King’s Lynn Police Station in St James Street between 9am and 4pm.
They can also be handed in to Suffolk police at Lowestoft Police Station in Old Nelson Street.
Anyone handing in a firearm should make sure that it is unloaded and covered up and, if possible, ring the police beforehand on 101 to let officers know that they are bringing a gun in as part of the operation.