york-imitation-firearm
An imitation gun seized by police after an incident in York in 2012. Photograph: North Yorkshire Police
North Yorkshire Police are asking members of the public to hand in their illegally held guns and ammunition during a firearms surrender fortnight.

Police stations taking part

York (Fulford Road), Selby, Tadcaster, Harrogate (Beckwith Head Road), Skipton, Ripon, Knaresborough, Northallerton, Thirsk, Bedale, Catterick Garrison, Stokesley, Richmond, Scarborough, Eastfield, Filey, Whitby, Malton and Pickering

Check station opening times on the police website

Between November 1 and 16, people can drop off illegally held firearms at police stations across the county.

This covers replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, antique weapons, component parts and ammunition.

People may hold firearms unaware that they do so illegally, or may have overlooked or forgotten weapons or ammunition stashed away somewhere.

The amnesty gives anyone the chance to dispose of them safely at a police station.

New law

The law on weapons has changed recently and the police are holding the firearms amnesty to help avoid them getting into the wrong hands.

Previously if you were jailed for three months or more, you were banned from possessing a gun or ammunition. The new law extends this prohibition to people who are given suspended prison sentences of three months or more.

It also now applies to antique firearms.

During the period of the amnesty, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession and they can remain anonymous.

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

“Gun crime is very rare in North Yorkshire, and it has fallen year-on-year across the UK over the past ten years. However, the less illegally held firearms that are in circulation, the better,” said Dave Coutts, head of firearms and explosives licensing at North Yorkshire Police.