An appeal for people to hand in unwanted or illegal firearms has seen more than 70 guns surrendered to Northamptonshire Police in just two weeks.
Part of a national firearms surrender coordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), the event allowed people to hand in firearms and ammunition anonymously, helping prevent them getting into criminal hands.
Between November 13 and 26, a total of 72 firearms were surrendered in Northamptonshire, including shotguns, rifles, air weapons, handguns and imitation firearms. A number of items were deactivated or antique firearms, including a flintlock musket.
Surrendered ammunition included more than 100 shotgun cartridges, 45 live bullets, pistol blanks and hundreds of air weapon pellets. Other weapons including a crossbow and knives were also handed in.
Superintendent Chris Hillery, head of local policing, said: “I said right at the beginning of the campaign if we just had one handed in that was a success. If you compare it to our previous campaign, that ran a little bit longer in 2014, we had 177 handed in. But every one of those firearms that has been handed in, every weapon that has been handed in, and every round of ammunition for me is a success. In volume terms I think it's fantastic.
"Clearly there was a risk for every firearm out there that it falls into the wrong hands - whether that be criminality or into a young persons hands who is just interested. And accidents happen, or indeed crimes occur.
"So for every one that’s handed in, that’s a real success and should be reassuring to the community that people are willing to work with the police and take firearms off the street."
Once examinations of the surrendered weapons are complete, most will be destroyed. Any of historic significance will be made safe and preserved. Previous offences linked to any of the surrendered items will be investigated.
Supt Hillery added: “To anyone who may still have a firearm they have not handed in, please call us on 101 to discuss the safe collection of that item.”
The three-week surrender in September 2014 resulted in 177 firearms being handed to Northamptonshire Police, alongside more than 100 knives or bladed articles.
Any information about illegal firearms can be reported to police on 101 or online at www.northants.police.uk, or passed to independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.