Deadly guns off the streets

One of the guns handed in
One of the guns handed in

DOZENS of firearms – and more ammunition than any other part of Greater Manchester – have been handed in during a gun amnesty in Wigan.

These images show some of the deadly weapons surrendered during the two-week reprieve for criminals and anyone else who realised they might have been holding a gun unlawfully.

Among them were no fewer than 26 guns handed over at Wigan’s police station: the second highest number of firearms recovered in the county.

The haul saw police collect 15 handguns, seven shotguns, four air weapons and 13 boxes of ammunition in Wigan and Leigh.

As previously reported, among the most unusual items was an antique shotgun disguised as a walking stick which someone brought into Wigan police HQ on Robin Park Road.

The cane gun, which is estimated at being manufactured in the late 1800s, had the weapon concealed within the casing. As it was impossible to licence, the firearm, despite its value, had to be destroyed.

Police, however, are well pleased with the operation, no more so than in Wigan.

Det Chief Insp Debbie Dooley of the Xcalibre Task Force said: “This year’s firearm amnesty was a remarkable success and I am delighted that we have managed to remove over 200 weapons from the streets of Greater Manchester.

“Gun crime in Greater Manchester continues to fall year on year. The amnesty may be over, but our war against gun crime is not.

“This is a result of continued efforts from the force and our partners working together to safeguard, educate and intervene at the earliest opportunity.

“We will continue to work hard to make the streets safer and remove guns from our community and we urge the public to help us in this fight.”

The amnesty gave the public the chance to surrender unlawfully-held or unwanted guns and ammunition, with no questions asked, to help prevent them getting into the wrong hands.

During that period, those surrendering firearms did not face prosecution for the illegal possession and they had the option to remain anonymous.

In total Greater Manchester Police received 225 firearms and over 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

Of these, more than 80 were deemed to be held illegally.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester Tony Lloyd said: “We know the misery weapons like these can cause to our communities so it is great news that so many of them have been taken off our streets.

“We have seen a remarkable reduction in the use of firearms in Greater Manchester in recent years, which has come about because police, other agencies and local communities have all worked together to make our streets safer.

“This amnesty sends out a clear message that guns have no place in our society.”

DCI Dooley added: “We are completely supportive of firearms license holders who own and use guns safely, responsibly and legally.”

Members of the public can always hand weapons to the police, whether license holders or otherwise.

Contact police on 101 for more information.