POLICE are urging people to hand in unwanted guns as part of a national amnesty on weapons.

North Yorkshire Police want people to take part in the two week national surrender of firearms and ammunition, which begins on November 13.

Police say the amnesty 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. They say many firearms are held in innocence or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate their local communities.

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During the two weeks from Monday, November 13 to Sunday, November 26, those surrendering firearms, ammunition, knives and other weapons will not face prosecution for their illegal possession and can remain anonymous.

A spokesperson for the police said: “Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of them in a safe place.

“Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars in prison and if you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply that can lead to a life sentence.”

Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Oliver of North Yorkshire Police’s Proactive Policing command added: “Every weapon has the potential to fall into the wrong hands and have a devastating impact and I would urge anyone who is in possession of gun and other weapons to surrender them to the police safely and anonymously.

“Each weapon we retrieve has the potential to save a life.

“Perhaps you have a gun that has been handed down through the family or your loved one has a firearm in their shed which has been gathering dust and they have forgotten about.

“If you or a loved one possesses an illegal or unwanted firearm, or any other offensive weapon, now is your chance to do the right thing and hand them in, or tell us anonymously where they are.

“One weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities.”

People can hand in weapons to police at stations including Richmond, Malton, Harrogate, Fulford Road in York and at the North Yorkshire Police headquarters in Northallerton.