Firearms amnesty as UK gun crime rises 27% this year

Britons are being urged to hand over illegal firearms during a two-week gun amnesty.

Anybody taking guns and ammunition to police stations across the UK over the next fortnight will not face automatic criminal charges, but will if they are later connected to a crime.

The National Gun Surrender started on Monday and will run until 26 November.

Air guns, rifles, BB guns, shotguns and pistols, including antiques and ex-military, are among the weapons police said should be handed in.

The amnesty comes less than a month after national figures revealed the number of crimes involving firearms in England and Wales increased by 27% to 6,696 in the year ending June 2017.

Many firearms are "held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality" and are often left forgotten in people's homes, according to the National Ballistic Intelligence Service (Nabis), which is co-ordinating the surrender.

Others are acquired through criminal networks and handing them in could save lives, the service added.

Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan, National Police Chiefs' Council firearms lead, said: "You don't have to give your name or address; we just want more guns out of harm's way.

"Each firearm we retrieve has the potential to save a life, so do the right thing and surrender your weapon."

In 2014, more than 6,000 guns were handed in to police, including antique guns, imitation firearms, hand guns, rifles, shotguns and ammunition.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton, head of Nabis, said: "Perhaps you have a gun that has been handed down through the family or you have found a firearm in your loft or shed which has been gathering dust and you had forgotten about."

Illegal possession of a firearm can result in a five year prison sentence. If you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply, it could lead to a life sentence.

:: Anyone with information on people involved with illegal firearms is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.