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Sussex has one of highest numbers of legally owned guns

Sussex is one of the police forces with the highest number of firearms certificates in England and Wales, as the number of legally owned guns reaches its highest level for 20 years.

There were more than 1.3 million shotguns and and 525,125 other firearms covered by licences at the end of March. The combined total of 1,863,524 is the largest recorded since statistics were first collected in 1995.

There were 153,603 firearms certificates, which cover guns other than shotguns such as rifles, on issue earlier this year - the highest number since 1988. A certificate can cover several guns.

Police forces with the highest number of firearms certificates as of March 31 2015 were Devon and Cornwall, Sussex and West Mercia -10,855, 6,735 and 6,708 respectively.

A report published by the Home Office alongside the figures said the number of firearms fell from 418,300 to 295,000 between 1996 and 1998 as tighter controls were introduced in the wake of the Dunblane shootings.

Since 1998, there has been an upward trend.