Wartime guns found in dead Northamptonshire man's loft are handed in to police in first few days of national amnesty

A collection of wartime pistols and a rifle have been handed in to police in Northamptonshire after being found in a deceased man's loft in the first few days of a national amnesty.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 1:00 pm
A police officer with some of the guns handed in during the amnesty so far. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

Seven firearms and some ammunition have already been handed in to Northamptonshire Police during the campaign which started on Saturday (July 20) and ends on August 4.

A US M1 carbine .30 rifle, Browning Mod 8mm handgun, a Cobra starting pistol and a Mauser C96 pistol were collected after being found by a woman in her father's loft during a clear-out as he passed away several years ago.

And more appointments have been made for firearm collections after people called 101 to arrange, police said.

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A police officer with some of the guns handed in during the amnesty so far. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

The force's head of operations, Superintendent Sarah Johnson, said: “I’m pleased that people are getting the message and have already started handing in items so that they can be disposed of appropriately.

“I would continue to remind people of the surrender and encourage anyone, who has weapons that they no longer need or have discovered, to call 101 and arrange for their collection.

“I would also appeal to those people who may be friends, family members, or partners of criminals, who may have been asked to conceal firearms.

"These people may believe that they won’t be arrested or prosecuted because it’s not their gun. This is not the case.

A US M1 carbine .30 rifle, Browning Mod 8mm handgun, a Cobra starting pistol and a Mauser C96 pistol have been surrendered. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

“If you are caught in possession of a firearm, you could be jailed for a minimum of five years.”

The surrenders come in the week a man was shot and stabbed in a brutal attack by a group of men on a playing field in Northampton - a man and a teenager have been arrested.

But figures released last week show gun crime in Northamptonshire has reduced by eight per cent, with 170 crimes recorded between April, 2018, and March, 2019, compared with 185 crimes in the previous 12 months.

During the campaign, the public are being asked to call police on 101 to arrange an appointment to have officers come and collect the firearm.

The national gun surrender aims to encourage people to hand in any firearms that may be in their possession. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes, while others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to threaten or harm their communities, a police spokesman said.

The surrender gives the opportunity to dispose of a firearm or ammunition by simply arranging for an officer to collect it.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Service co-ordinated the last national firearms surrender in November 2017 with thousands of potentially lethal items prevented from getting into criminal hands.

This summer’s campaign has a particular focus on firearms, stun gun type devices and pepper sprays.

Police want to highlight the danger of these items and remind people they are illegal in this country and could lead to a prison sentence for anyone caught in possession.

During the campaign, those handing over firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession - at the point of surrender - and can remain anonymous if they choose to.

The firearms may, however be forensically examined to see if they have any links to other crimes.

Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and being found guilty of possession with intent to supply can lead to a life sentence.

If you know of anyone in possession of an illegal firearm or involved in gun crime call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency - alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.