Essex Police hail firearms amnesty a success as 130 weapons given up

PUBLISHED: 12:08 15 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:08 15 November 2016

A starting pistol handed in during the 2016 firearms amnesty by Essex Police. Photo: Essex Police

A starting pistol handed in during the 2016 firearms amnesty by Essex Police. Photo: Essex Police

Archant

Almost 130 guns have been handed in to Essex Police during a two-week firearms amnesty.

In the initiative, which ran from October 31 to November 11, people could hand over any unwanted or unlicensed weapons – real, imitation or antique – without being prosecuted for possessing it. However, they may be investigated for crimes linked to the weapon.

As well as 129 firearms, 27 rounds of ammunition were handed over.

Of the weapons submitted to police, around ten will be sent to the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NaBIS) for further examination after initial tests were carried out by Essex Police to see if they had previously been used in a crime.

A further four may be added to the NaBIS database.

Among the firearms handed in to police were 43 air weapons, 32 blank or live pistols, seven live or replica revolvers, six files and 41 full-length shotguns.

The number handed in exceeds the 124 items surrendered during Essex Police’s previous campaign in October 2014.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Hooper, of the Essex and Kent Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This is a fantastic result, ensuring there are fewer firearms in Essex that could fall into the wrong hands and be used in crimes.

“There has been a concerning rise in offences involving firearms in Essex, increasing from 700 in 2013/14 to 806 in 2015/16.

“I am also very pleased with the number of air weapons and imitation firearms handed in. Imitation firearms can be almost impossible to tell apart from the real thing, but can cause the same feelings of fear if produced to a member of public or used in a crime.”

A total of 16 weapons were handed in at Braintree police station, 38 at Chelmsford, 19 to Clacton and 17 to Colchester.

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