HUNDREDS of firearms have been surrendered as part of Hampshire Constabulary’s push to get weapons off the streets of the county, writes Clive Hammond.

Across the two-week Firearms and Ammunition Surrender, weapons including self-loading pistols and First World War revolvers were recovered.

It was a joint operation by Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police which in total saw more than 500 firearms handed in.

Overall, 351 firearms were recovered in Hampshire, as well as 95 quantities of ammunition.

In Thames Valley, more than 200 were handed in.

Firearms handed in across Hampshire included a number of working, illegally-held self-loading pistols and working revolvers from the First World War, including two that were used in the Battle of the Somme.

Other interesting firearms included a gun made to look like walking stick, handed in on the Isle of Wight, and another made to look like a pen.

A number of illegal shotguns, including a sawn-off, were also handed in, as well as a revolver made in 1893, handguns, rifles and numerous air rifles and air pistols.

Other surrendered items include deactivated and imitation firearms and BB guns.

Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police joined police forces across the country to take part in the national campaign run by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service.

During the two-week campaign, those surrendering firearms did not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous.

However, this was not an amnesty and if further examination of a surrendered firearm revealed a link to a crime, this would be investigated.

Chief Inspector Emma Baillie, head of armed response for Hampshire and Thames Valley, said: “We would like to thank everyone who handed in any firearms or ammunition as part of this surrender.

“This means that there are 351 fewer firearms and imitation firearms on our streets which could have easily fallen into the hands of criminals.

“As a result our neighbourhoods are much safer, both for our residents and for our officers who work every day and night to protect them.

“We are very pleased that so many people took the opportunity to take part in this initiative and the number of firearms recovered certainly proves how valuable such a surrender is.

“Gun crime is low in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and has not seen a rise others force areas have, however we cannot be complacent and we will continue to do all we can to make our communities safer.”