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31 October 2016, 08:55
Kent Police are starting a two week gun amnesty to try to get unlicensed and imitation firearms off of the county's streets.
It will run until 5pm on Friday 11 November and during that time people can hand in unwanted firearms, ammunition, imitation firearms and air or gas-powered weapons without fear of prosecution.
Police say surrendering unwanted or unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of the items falling into the hands of criminals and also means they can be disposed of safely.
During the two-week period anyone surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession.
Weapons can be surrendered at one of the following stations,
• Ashford Police Station in Tufton Street, Ashford. TN23 1BT.
• Canterbury Police Station in Old Dover Road, Canterbury. CT1 3JQ.
• Dover Police Station in Ladywell, Dover. CT16 1DJ.
• Folkestone Police Station in Bouverie Road West, Folkestone. CT20 2SG.
• Maidstone Police Station in Palace Avenue, Maidstone. ME15 6NF.
• Margate Police Station in Fort Hill, Margate. CT9 1HL.
• Sittingbourne Police Station in Central Avenue, Sittingbourne. ME10 4NR.
• Swanley Police Station in London Road, Swanley. BR8 7AJ.
• Tonbridge Police Station in Pembury Road, Tonbridge. TN9 2HS.
• Tunbridge Wells Police Station in Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells. TN1 2LU.
Anyone preparing to hand in a weapon is advised to call 101 beforehand. The number can also be used for advice on how to transport weapons safely.
You can also, if they wish, use the 101 service to arrange the safe collection of any weapon from their home by an officer from Kent Police.
Detective Chief Superintendent Robert Fordham, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Kent has a high number of responsible, licensed firearms holders and this could be attributed to its rural landscape.
"In recent years however there have been several changes to the law and people may be unaware on how these changes affect them. For example, there may be people out there who have inherited weapons from elderly relatives or friends that are actually not legal for them to have.
"I would also encourage members of the public to surrender any replica firearms in their possession. There is never a good reason to be in possession of a replica firearm and anyone who carries one is putting themselves in danger and increasing the fear of crime for the rest of the public.
"This amnesty gives them the opportunity to surrender the items and not be prosecuted. If a member of the public is unsure on whether it is legal for them to have a firearm in their possession, they should contact us for advice."