12,500 Air Weapons Handed To Police Scotland

21 June 2016, 12:24 | Updated: 21 June 2016, 12:25

More than 12,500 weapons have been handed into Police Scotland since the start of a nationwide air weapons amnesty.

The force confirmed 11,569 weapons were surrendered at police stations during the three-week long initiative, which ended on Sunday June 12.

A further 1,000 weapons have been given up to officers in the week since the campaign ended, Police Scotland said.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley said there had been a "fantastic response'' to the amnesty, adding Scotland would be a  "safer place'' as a result.

The campaign was prompted by Scottish Government legislation bringing in a licensing regime for air weapons.

Under the new law, anyone wishing to retain one or more of these after December 31 2016 will require to apply for a licence or risk prosecution, with offenders facing a fine or up to two years in jail if convicted.

All the weapons that have been surrendered will be disposed of securely by Police Scotland.

Mr Gormley, who joined forces with Justice Secretary Michael Matheson to announce the total, said : "This is a fantastic response. Every weapon handed in had the potential to cause serious harm within our communities if misused, and to have more than 11,000 fewer weapons in existence has made Scotland a safer place.

"I am pleased to say our officers are still able to accept unwanted air weapons and would ask those responsible members of the public who no longer wish to keep a weapon, or to apply for a licence, to do so, preferably in daylight hours, covered and in a way which does not alarm other people.

"All of these guns, and an assortment of other harmful weapons including crossbows, shotguns, rifles and several pistols dating back to the Second World War, will now be taken away and destroyed to ensure they are off our streets forever.''

Heart's Gillian Wheelan spoke to the Chief Constable: