More than 300 firearms and thousands of bullets and shotgun rounds have been handed in during a police campaign in Sussex and Surrey.
Between November 10 and November 21 Sussex Police and Surrey Police ran a surrender during which locals were encouraged to take any unwanted weaponry to a police station to be disposed of.
In Sussex, 58 handguns, 17 rifles, 53 airguns and 104 shotguns were handed in, along with nearly 1,000 shotgun cartridges and more than 4,000 bullets and other types of ammunition.
Each of them has been examined and made safe by trained firearms officers.
The surrender was launched as an opportunity for those whose licence had lapsed or who do not hold a license to dispose of their weapons and ammunition safely and without prosecution.
However, each weapon may be analysed to determine if it has been used in crime and, if it has, it will be investigated.
Chief Superintendent Paul Morrison, the head of operations command across Sussex Police and Surrey Police, said, “The surrender has led to more than 300 firearms being taken out of circulation and although there’s no suggestion that any were involved in crime, all of them had the potential to be dangerous if they fell into the wrong hands.
“I am grateful to all those who handed in firearms and ammunition. They have helped us make Sussex and Surrey even safer by reducing the chance of criminals getting their hands on weapons.”
The surrender was part of a nationwide operation being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), which analyses guns and ballistic material for police forces across the UK.
New legislation that came into effect on July 14 increased the maximum jail term for illegal gun possession from ten years to life.
The legislation also changes the list of those who can possess firearm and ammunition and includes non firing weapons that can be made viable by people with ballistics knowledge.
Although the surrender has ended, anyone with a firearm who wishes to dispose of it can still call 101 or email email@example.com in Sussex or firstname.lastname@example.org in Surrey and ask for the firearms licensing unit, which will give them advice.
Please do not hand any such items to police officers or staff in the street as they are not equipped to deal with firearms and the sight of weapons could cause unnecessary alarm to members of the community.
If you have any information about the possession of an illegal firearm or criminal activity related to weapons, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.