AN MP has called for the Home Secretary to review gun laws after a 12- year-old was given a shotgun licence.

As part of a Freedom of Information request, Durham Police disclosed that 11 shotgun licences were given to children under the age of 16 in their force area last year.

Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman said she finds the situation extraordinary and will be writing to Theresa May to ask her to consider changing the laws.

There is no legal minimum age limit for shotgun licences, but the minimum age for a firearms licence is 14.

The figures show that the youngest person to receive a shotgun licence in the Durham force area was 12.

Miss Goodman said: “It is not unusual for certificates to be granted because of the rural nature of the constituency.

“It is vital that the police are satisfied of the person’s suitability to possess a shotgun and that strict security arrangements are in place to maintain public safety.

“It is just foolish that such a law exists.

“My 13-year-old daughter wasn’t allowed to buy matches so we could light candles at Christmas time, but as things stand, she would be able to own a shotgun if she wanted.”

In light of the Derrick Bird and Raoul Moat shootings last year, the Home Affairs Select Committee has also recommended a review of the laws, so Miss Goodman said she was confident that changes can be made.

Durham Police said that, in total, 115 shotgun certificates were issued to people aged 19 or younger.

Under the current laws, a child could be the registered owner of the shotgun, but would have to be supervised by an adult.

Lucy Cope, who founded the campaign group Mothers Against Guns said: “If a child with a shotgun is bullied in school and cannot deal with it, he might bring his gun into school and it’s a bloodbath.”

A Durham Police spokesman said: “Once a person is granted a certificate, they are subject to accompanying legislation which limits circumstances in which they can possess and use the weapon.

“A certificate holder who is under the age of 18 will be subject to strict security arrangements required for storage, and is more likely to be doing so in a household where an adult is already a licenced holder in their own right.”