Lincolnshire Police are appealing for people to hand over any unwanted guns as part of a national two-week surrender of firearms and ammunition.
The plea comes ahead of Firearms Surrender Week, which starts on Monday, November 13.
Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality, or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to threaten or harm their local communities.
The National surrender gives members of the public the chance to dispose of a firearm or ammunition by simply taking it to a local police station and handing it in.
Supt Kieran English said: “Keeping a firearm is a huge responsibility. This is an opportunity to ask if it is a responsibility that you really want and if so, do you have the legal right to hold the weapon? Is your licence up to date? For every item kept, there is the potential for it to fall into the wrong hands or cause harm. Surrendering the firearm takes away the responsibility and the risk and many people welcome this opportunity.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Criminal Use of Firearms, Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan, said: “I am urging anyone with an unwanted firearm to hand it over to police. You don’t have to give your name or address; we just want more guns out of harm’s way. Each firearm we retrieve has the potential to save a life so do the right thing and surrender your weapon.”
The surrender initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). The surrender will run for two weeks from Monday 13 November to Sunday 26 November 2017.
Det Chief Supt Jo Chilton, head of NABIS, added: “Surrendering unwanted or illegal firearms avoids the risk of them becoming involved in crime and means that members of the community can dispose of them in a safe place.
“Perhaps you have a gun that has been handed down through the family or you have found a firearm in your loft or shed which has been gathering dust and you had forgotten about.
“During the campaign this November you can contact your local force and hand in any unwanted or illegal firearms. This way you can be confident you have got rid of a firearm safely.”
Guns and ammunition can be surrendered at police stations across the UK but anyone handing in a firearm, ammunition or any other weapon during the surrender is advised to check the opening times of your station online or call 101.
During the last national firearms surrender in 2014 more than 6,000 items were handed in to police across the Country with 132 being surrendered in Lincolnshire. These included hand guns, rifles, shotguns, antique (obsolete calibre) guns and imitation firearms - as well as ammunition.
How to hand in your weapon
You can take your item to any police station providing it is packaged and bagged safely and appropriately. There is no need to call ahead unless you have queries or concerns about your weapon or the process of handing it in.
If you are elderly, infirm or without transport, police will attend your home.
Do not attempt to bring items that might be unstable, e.g. a hand grenade. Call 101 for advice.
If you know of anyone involved with illegal firearms call police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555 111.