Cleveland and Durham police forces back gun amnesty

Pc Andy Blackett, from Cleveland Police, with firearms that were 
handed in during an amnesty in 2014
Pc Andy Blackett, from Cleveland Police, with firearms that were handed in during an amnesty in 2014

Cleveland and Durham Police are backing a nationwide two-week drive to take guns off Britain’s streets.

A two-week firearms and ammunition amnesty will run from Monday, November 13, to midnight on Sunday, November 26, during which times and police are hoping to collect as many guns and ammunition as possible during the campaign.

Any potential risk to our community can be further reduced with the surrender of each and every weapon, component part or piece of ammunition, so I would encourage all members of the community to support this surrender where they can.

Insp Mark Pitt

Throughout this period, no-one surrendering firearms will face prosecution for illegal possession and they can remain anonymous.

However, the history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of its use in crimes.

The surrender is part of a national initiative co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) and aims to prevent weapons and ammunition from getting into the wrong hands.

Cleveland Police’s Inspector Mark Pitt said: “We recognise that in Cleveland we have very few issues with gun crime, however, we have had instances whereby people have come into possession of a firearm unintentionally, for example, whilst clearing out a relative’s home.

“Those people can bring the firearms to us so that they are disposed of in a safe manner without the fear of consequences for illegal possession of the weapon.

“Any potential risk to our community can be further reduced with the surrender of each and every weapon, component part or piece of ammunition, so I would encourage all members of the community to support this surrender where they can.”

Many firearms may be held in innocence and ignorance of their legality or may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes. The surrender gives holders the chance to dispose of the firearm or ammunition safely by taking it to a local police station and handing it in, or by calling 101 to arrange collection.

Anyone handing in a firearm during the surrender in Cleveland can attend Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough, or Redcar and Cleveland police offices or collection can be arranged in some circumstances.

Anyone wanting advice on how to transport the weapon responsibly from home to the police station can contact 101 before travelling.

Anyone with information regarding illegal firearms activity can also call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Weapons can also be surrendered at all of County Durham and Darlington’s police stations, except Newton Aycliffe – check the station opening times in advance on the force website. Items cannot be handed in at police headquarters.