Police to hold gun amnesty

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Thames Valley Police is holding an amnesty to encourage people to hand in guns and ammunition without the risk of prosecution.

The force wide initiative to reduce the number of illegally held weapons starts at 8am on Monday, November 24, and runs until 10pm on Sunday, December 7.

During this period, unlicensed guns, bullets and old or antique firearms can be handed in to police, without facing prosecution for illegal possession of the weapons.

The maximum jail term for possessing an illegal gun recently increased from ten years to life in July this year.

The recent changes in the legislation, mean the laws around antique firearms have been tightened.

Anyone who has served or received a criminal sentence can no longer possess an antique gun.

The sentencing guidelines for possession for sale or transfer of an unauthorised firearm or ammunition have also been raised and this offence now carries a maximum penalty of life.

Ch Insp Linday James, who is leading the campaign, said: “The aim of the two-week firearms surrender is to stop guns getting into the wrong hands.

“Every gun given up is one less that criminals can use.

“Licence holders can be reassured that these measures merely enhance their rights and privileges to own firearms, by removing illegal ones.

“Licence holders are also encouraged to use this amnesty to consider the surrender of weapons they no longer have a use for.

“It can also be used to get rid of firearms left by a family member who has died.

“Although year-on-year crime figures show that firearm crime has reduced in Thames Valley in the last three years, authorities believe the change in legislation, which came into effect on July 14, means a number of firearms will be held by people in innocence and ignorance of their illegality.

“It is important to emphasise that guns suspected to have previously been used in crimes, will be investigated.”

Guns, bullets and firearms can be handed in at any of the participating stations across the Thames Valley.

In Bucks, they can be handed in at either Milton Keynes station (open 24/7), Aylesbury station (open 8am-10pm) or High Wycombe (open 8am-10pm).