Gun amnesty sees 63 weapons handed in at town police station

Chief Inspector Justina Beeken ENGSUS00120131028175557
Chief Inspector Justina Beeken ENGSUS00120131028175557

More than 60 guns were handed in at Crawley police station during a weapons amnesty.

Between November 10 and 21, the station took part in a nationwide operation co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) to get weapons off the streets.

During that time eight air weapons, three pistols, three revolvers and four rifles were taken to the station in Woodfield Road. In addition, 45 shot guns were handed in – just short of half the total for the entire county.

When asked what concerns she had about the numbers of that particular weapon being so high in Crawley, Chief Inspector Justina Beeken stressed gun crime was “not a problem” in the town – and that the huge majority of the weapons handed over had come from one person.

She added: “Crimes involving firearms are extremely rare in Crawley, as they are across the rest of Sussex.

“We’re delighted that so many weapons have been handed in during the surrender which shows that our message has got through to the public that the safest place for firearms to be kept is with us.

“Although the breakdown by station suggests an issue in Crawley, it should be said that more than 51 of the 63 firearms surrendered in the district came from one licensed dealer who contacted us to dispose of a large number of weapons and made an appointment to bring them to the station.

“The other items included a gun brought back from the Second World War as a souvenir, part of an antique rifle, an airgun and a starter pistol.

“Gun crime is not a problem in Crawley but we would continue to encourage anyone who does have a firearm and who wants to get rid of it to contact us so that we can prevent any potentially dangerous weapons falling into the hands of criminals.”

The weapons amnesty was held across Sussex and Surrey and saw more than 300 weapons and thousands of bullets handed to police.

It was launched after new legislation, which came into effect in July, increased the maximum jail term for illegal gun possession from 10 years to life. The amnesty allowed those whose licence had lapsed or who did not hold a license to dispose of their weapons and ammunition safely and without prosecution.

Chief Superintendent Paul Morrison, the head of operations command across both forces, said: “I am grateful to all those who handed in firearms and ammunition. They have helped us make Sussex and Surrey even safer by reducing the chance of criminals getting their hands on weapons.”