AK-47 rifle and walking stick shotgun among 90 firearms handed in to Hampshire police stations

ITV News Meridian's Kara Digby went along to see what had been handed in to officers

A walking stick with a hidden shotgun and an AK-47 replica are among 90 firearms handed into police stations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight during an amnesty.

In total, 215 weapons including shotguns, BB guns, air weapons, imitation firearms and ammunition were handed in between Thursday, May 12 and Sunday, May 29.

The force took part in the national campaign to remove unlicensed weapons from the streets to stop them being used in criminal activity.

The public could hand weapons in without fear of prosecution.

The last firearms surrender was held in 2019 and resulted in 70 being handed in across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

  • PC Tom Wrenn, Armed Response Officer, Hampshire Constabulary

PC Tom Wrenn, Armed Response Officer, Hampshire Constabulary said: "It makes a difference to the public knowing that these guns are off the streets, it makes a difference to us so that we don't have to respond to incidents that involve these firearms.

"It's massively important that these are in our hands so that they can't be used in crime, to put anyone in fear or danger.

"There's an M16 rifle, an AK-47, that was a bit of a shock to see, and the sheer amount of shotguns that have been handed in.

"It's good, it's all off the street, it's in our hands, we can do the responsible thing now and get rid of it."

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Storey, Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Thankfully in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, gun crime is very uncommon, incidents are very low.

"Clearly there will still be guns in circulation but the number are very limited.

"We will carry on with similar campaigns in the future, but equally, we'll link in with our various crime partners and the local community to try and encourage information to be provided to the police so that we can identify who is in possession of firearms and seize them and prevent them from further circulation."

The walking stick shotgun shocked officers. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show a 5% decrease in firearms offences in England and Wales for the 12 month period up to the end of December 2021 compared to the previous years. Offences fell from 5,983 to 5,682.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Storey added: "Our key aim with the surrender was for the removal of firearms and ammunition in order to reduce overall gun harm within our communities.

"These deactivated weapons cannot now be reactivated.

"In addition, these weapons present no distinction between real and imitation firearms, which present a deadly risk to persons using them when the police respond to an incident.

  • Detective Chief Inspector Dave Storey, Hampshire Constabulary

"It’s really important that we continue to build on public safety by providing opportunities for the safe surrender of weapons like this and by reminding the public to check their licences."

It is against the law to be in possession of an unlicensed firearm, regardless of how it was acquired.

Firearms can be surrendered to the police at any time, not just during the amnesty.

Dave added: "If anyone has any doubt, we have specially trained officers across the county who can make unlicensed weapons safe and remove them.