Lancashire Police are urging members of the public to hand over illegally held weapons and ammunition as part of a national two-week firearms surrender.
The firearms surrender will take place between 12-29 May 2022.
Firearms legislation is regularly updated, and officers are asking people to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to help avoid them getting into the wrong hands.
Many firearms may be held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes. The surrender gives holders the chance to dispose of the firearm or ammunition safely by taking it to a local police station and handing it in.
Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed firearms avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place.
During the surrender period, those handing over firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession at the point of surrender and they can remain anonymous. However, the history of each live firearm will be checked for evidence of its use in crime.
Chief Supt Richard Robertshaw from Lancashire Police said: “We can be proud that gun crime in the UK remains one of the lowest in the world and certainly here in Lancashire it is very rare.
“However, we are not complacent about gun crime which is why we are supporting the national Firearms Surrender. We want as many guns as possible to be handed in to reduce the risk of them falling into the wrong hands and being used to commit serious harm.
“In particular we’re appealing for people with so called legacy items – inherited or antique weapons or ammunition lying in a cupboard or attic to hand them in. Changes to legislation means these are now illegal to hold without a licence.”
He added: “Throughout the two weeks, we’ll also be continuing to work hard to educate people about firearms and the dangers that come with them, to ensure that gun crime doesn’t become prevalent in our county in the future.”
Firearms and ammunition can be surrendered at any designated police station but anyone handing in a firearm, or a stun gun, during the Firearms Surrender is advised to check the opening times of their station. To receive advice on how best to transport the weapon responsibly from home to the police station phone 101 before travelling. You can also phone 101 if you are unable to get to a station.
Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: "We have all seen how illegal firearms can have devastating consequences which is why it is so important we keep them out of the hands of criminals.
“I am determined to lead the fight against crime in Lancashire and every weapon that is not licensed or properly stored poses a potential threat to our communities.
"I would urge anyone in Lancashire who may possess an unlicensed firearm to take this opportunity to hand it in so it can be safely disposed of.”
Every call to Crimestoppers is anonymous and potentially vital to preventing or solving serious crimes; removing an illegally held firearm may just save someone’s life.