November 18, 2014
Two-week weapon amnesty launched by police in Burnham-On-Sea

Residents in the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area are being urged to hand in firearms and knives during a special amnesty being held across Somerset this month.

People can dispose of their weapons at police stations across Somerset, including Burnham any weekday between 10am and 6pm from November 17th until November 30th.

Knives or bladed articles can be left in special bins, but firearms must be handed in at the front desk. Anyone surrendering a gun or knife will not face prosecution for illegal possession, although they will be checked for evidence to see if they have been used in a crime.

The amnesty is being held across Somerset and is being supported by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to encourage local people who wish to safely dispose of a firearm or knife.

Many firearms are held by members of the public who may not realise they are illegal. Some may have inherited the items from relatives and think that the age of weapon means it legal.

Chief Inspector Debbie Palmer-Lawrence, Operational Policing, Policy and Support at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, added: "The purpose of this surrender is to offer those people who may not realise they have an illegal firearm to surrender it without fear of prosecution for this offence."

"I must stress that we will be taking information from those people handing in firearms and we will be running some background checks to see if that weapon has been used in a crime."

"We will accept any firearm or knife, but we are particularly keen to receive ornamental knives, lock knives, butterfly knives, WWII weapons – any weapon which could cause serious harm if in the wrong hands."

"I would also urge people to think about the consequences of keeping an illegal firearm or weapon. The law is very stringent around weapon possession and the maximum penalty of possessing an illegal firearm is life imprisonment."

"Firearms license holders can be reassured that these measures merely enhance their rights and privileges to own firearms, by removing the dangerous ones from the wrong hands."

The sentencing guidelines for possession for sale or transfer of an unauthorised firearm or ammunition have also been raised. This offence now carries a maximum penalty of life.

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