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Merseyside Police is continuing to appeal for people to hand over guns and ammunition as part of a two-week national firearms surrender.
The two-week campaign began on 12 May and finishes on Sunday 29 May where people can hand over any firearms and ammunition in a responsible and safe way by calling 101 and arranging for an officer to collect it.
During the campaign people will not face prosecution for the illegal possession at the point of surrender and can remain anonymous.
Since the surrender began 19 items have been handed in to Merseyside Police and taken out of circulation which prevents them from ending up in the hands of criminals.
This includes a working firearm loaded with bullets which was found behind a garden shed in Toxteth. The weapon is now being forensically tested.
Two imitation firearms were handed in by family members in Wallasey after discovering them in a relative’s home. Police were contacted to ensure the items are disposed of safely and do not fall into the wrong hands.
Officers have also conducted a number of land searches around Merseyside, searching for weapons stored in public spaces.
Detective Chief Superintendent and Head of Investigations Mark Kameen said: “It is great to see members of the public backing this campaign by handing in and discovering weapons on their property.
“The working firearm found in a garden, which had ammunition in the cylinder, highlights the importance of looking around your garden for any weapons that are stored there without your knowledge. Thankfully this dangerous firearm is now off our streets, preventing serious injury to people.
“All the items handed in so far is a great result, because generally members of the public wouldn’t know the difference between a BB gun or a more dangerous weapon if confronted with one.”
Earlier this month, officers also recovered four working firearms – which were two self-loading pistols, a sub-machine gun and a sawn-off shotgun.
The number of discharges in Merseyside is the lowest figure for 21 years with 39 firearms discharges in the region in the year-ending March.
But we need the public’s help to continue this momentum of getting weapons off our streets. People are urged to check your homes for firearms that have been forgotten about, including gardens, under sheds or plant pots, and open land were weapons could be hidden.
Mr Kameen added: “I continue to urge people who have firearms in their possession to please contact us so we can collect it and dispose of it in a responsible manner.
“Just imagine if the worst happens and your home was broken into, and your weapon ends up in the wrong hands? Criminals could then use the weapon to threaten, injure or kill someone so it is imperative that we remove them from our streets and take them out of circulation.
“Every weapon taken off our streets can save a life or prevent serious injury.”
A short animation video has been put together by Merseyside Police which explains to people what to do if they find or own a firearm, calling 101 through to the safe destruction of the weapon. You can watch the video here https://youtu.be/jQ9axTUqf2g.
Another short video provides an overview of what Merseyside Police does all-year-round and urging people in possession of firearms and ammunition to call 101. You can watch this here https://youtu.be/Ufhtu-fxXgs.
This year’s surrender is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).
Don’t forget, you could be breaking the law by storing a firearm, and if found to be in possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence.
To arrange an appointment for a firearm to be collected call police on 101, and this can be at a location of their choice.