A ROCKET launcher was amongst dozens of firearms handed into police during a two-week amnesty on Teesside.

The national campaign to remove deadly weapons from the streets was held from July 20 for two weeks.

On Teesside, around 15 firearms and ammunition, including AK-47s, air pistols, shot guns, replica firearms and a single use rocket launcher, were handed into Cleveland Police.

The Northern Echo:

Some of the firearms that were surrendered Picture: CLEVELAND POLICE

The firearms are then checked for any evidence which suggests it has been used in a crime, before being safely disposed of and destroyed.

Temporary chief superintendent Alison Jackson at Cleveland Police said: “People often come into the possession of a firearm, whilst cleaning out a relative’s home or as a result of career choices.

“Keeping firearms for sentimental reasons rather than handing them in could seriously endanger someone’s life if they are stolen as they could potentially fall into the hands of people with criminal intent.

“A firearms amnesty is a great opportunity to hand in unwanted and unlicensed weapons but they can also be handed in to police stations at any time in the knowledge that they will be disposed of in a safe manner.

“Keeping people safe is a priority for Cleveland Police and you can help by surrendering weapons that could be used to inflict fear or harm in our communities.”

During the campaign, those surrending the firearms were told they would not face prosecution for the illegal possession of them.

Inspector Mark Pitt, who co-ordinated the campaign, said: “In Cleveland, we do not have a significant issue with gun crime, however, it is a priority of ours to work with our community to reduce firearms vulnerability further.

“The surrender offers people the chance to hand in firearms and ammunition safely, which may have been overlooked or forgotten about. I would finally like to thank the members of the public who took the time to bring their items in to be destroyed.”