Merseyside Police is appealing for people to hand over guns and ammunition as part of a two-week firearms surrender.
It has been three years since the last national firearms surrender, when forces across the UK asked members of the public to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to prevent them from getting into criminal hands.
This year’s surrender is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) and will run for two weeks from Monday 13 November to Sunday 26 November 2017.
During the last national surrender in November 2014 Merseyside Police had a total of 126 weapons and lots of ammunition handed in during a two week period, including 41 firearms.
The police stations in Merseyside which will be accepting guns and ammunition during the surrender are: Birkenhead, St Helens police station on College Street, St Ann Street, Southport, Huyton and Admiral Street in Toxteth but people are being advised to check the opening times of the stations in advance by calling 101 or visiting the Merseyside Police website – www.merseyside.police.uk
Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to threaten or harm their local communities. The surrender gives members of the public the chance to dispose of a firearm or ammunition by simply taking it to a local designated police station and handing it in.
Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and if you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply that can lead to a life sentence.
During this period, those handing over firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession, at the point of surrender, and can remain anonymous.
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green said: "We know from experience that gun crime can devastate communities and tear families apart.
"We have already had a great deal of success in removing a number of weapons from our streets but we know that there is still a considerable amount of work to be done.
"This surrender will run alongside the pro-active work that our officers do every single day to take guns and the criminals who use them off our streets but we also need the communities help by handing over weapons that potentially could fall into the wrong hands and be used to cause fear and intimidation.
"Every gun surrendered is one less that can be used by criminals to commit serious offences.
"Merseyside Police continues to be relentless in its efforts to tackle all forms of serious and organised crime and bring those responsible before the courts.
"We will act on every single piece of information that we receive and I would appeal to anyone with information on firearms, or where they are stored, to contact us as soon as possible either on the gun crime hotline on 0800 230 0600 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."