People in Lancashire are being urged to hand in guns and ammunition as part of a nation-wide firearms surrender starting on Saturday (July 20th)
The surrender will run for two weeks, during which weapons can be surrendered at six Lancashire Police stations – Blackburn, Burnley, Blackpool, Lancaster, Ormskirk and Preston.
Firearms incidents are low in Lancashire compared to some other areas, however, officers say even one incident is one too many in their bid to keep the county safe and feeling safe.
They say some people may hold firearms in innocence or ignorance of their illegality; a stun gun type device or pepper spray bought on-line, for example, or they may have older items in their homes which have been overlooked or forgotten. These can still be lethal if they get into the wrong hands so officers are encouraging people to take this opportunity to dispose of any firearms or ammunition they may have, however old.
Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place.
Anyone handing over firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous.
Inspector Nigel Barraclough, from Lancashire Constabulary’s Tactical Operations department, said: “Our aim is to keep Lancashire safe which we will do by working with partners and our local communities to prevent and detect crime.
“This nationwide surrender is a very good example of how members of the public can directly help us prevent harm to our local communities by removing the risk of weapons getting into the wrong hands.
“We want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to use this opportunity to hand them in. We’d also encourage anyone who knows about weapons being kept illegally to tell us anonymously where there are and potentially help save a life.”
“One weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities. We will use all of the powers and information available to us to locate this criminality and put a stop to it for good.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am fully supportive of Lancashire Constabulary in this campaign to remove dangerous firearms from our streets.
“I am committed to tackling violent crime and handing in potentially fatal weapons plays an important role in making the community a safer place. There are a number of reasons that people may find themselves with a firearm they should not have, for example through inheritance or legally held with no more use for.
“I would urge residents to make the right decision and hand over any illegal firearms they are in possession of, stopping them falling into the hands of those who could use them to commit crime.”
Weapons and ammunition should be surrendered at the designated local police stations but people are advised to check opening times first by visiting Lancashire.police/uk. Anyone who is physically unable to get to a station can call 101 for advice.
If you know of people involved in illegal firearms call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, report it online at Lancashire.police.uk/report it or call 101.