Pump-action shotguns and World War rifle among haul of weapons handed in to Durham Constabulary

Firearms handed in to police during a previous amnesty.
Firearms handed in to police during a previous amnesty.

PUMP action shotguns and a Second World War semi-automatic rifle have been among a haul gathered by police during a week-long weapons amnesty.

The appeal was launched by Durham Constabulary following a change in legislation, and to help prevent unlawfully held, or unwanted guns and ammunition from being used illegally.

Ch.Insp. Graham Milne of Durham Police withand First World War German Luger pistol, one of the many firearms handed in to the police during a week long amnesty.

Ch.Insp. Graham Milne of Durham Police withand First World War German Luger pistol, one of the many firearms handed in to the police during a week long amnesty.

Under the terms of the amnesty, which ran from Saturday, November 8, to Sunday, November 16, anyone handing in a firearm, ammunition, replica or imitation gun at a police station would not face prosecution for illegal possession. The amnesty covered not just firearms but knives and other items classed as weapons.

In total, 24 firearms were handed in for safekeeping, and then destruction.

This included rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, air weapons, two ball bearing weapons and three starting pistols.

Dozens of cartridges, shotgun shells and rounds of ammunition were also given up, along with a crossbow and cans of incapacitant spray.

The haul also included a muzzle-loading shotgun, handed in by an 86-year-old man who said it had belonged to his grandfather; a late Victorian pocket revolver and an M1 semi-automatic rifle, of the type issued to American GIs in the Second World War.

Assistant chief constable Dave Orford said: “Durham has traditionally been an area with very low levels of gun crime and the amnesty is not being held due to any recent increase in such offences.

“But with the legislation having recently changed, there was national agreement that an amnesty would be a sensible way of taking these weapons out of circulation and preventing them falling into the wrong hands.”

The diverse range of guns:

A walking stick converted into a shotgun and weapons uncovered in the aftermath of a death in the family were among the deadly items in to police.

This list also included:

•Nine shotguns including one pump-action weapon and makes such as Harrington, Richardson and Weston;

•A German Luger;

•An American semi-automatic rifle, believed to date from 1934 to 1936, which would have been issued as the country was armed for the Second World War;

•A late Victorian or early 20th century pocket revolver;

•A starting pistol;

•A starting pistol;

•A double action 1860 CP88 blank firing pistol;

•A revolver;

•A Beretta pistol;

•A Webley .22 air pistol;

•A bolt action rifle;

•A small hand pistol;

•A pistol flint lock;

•Dozens of live rounds.

Reasons why the guns were being held by householders included that they were found at a shooting range up to 40 years ago or found in their late father’s possessions or in the loft or garage of a family member who had died.