Pump-action firearms, gold bullets and shotgun cartridges: Staffordshire Police seize 2,500 guns in two years
THOUSANDS of deadly weapons including shotguns and revolvers have been seized from the region’s streets.
Figures obtained by The Sentinel show Staffordshire Police has confiscated more than 2,500 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition over a two-year period.
It includes pump-action firearms, gold bullets and shotgun cartridges.
Officers today reassured the public that Stoke-on-Trent has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the country.
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But Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: “The use of firearms is clearly linked into the most serious crime and it’s something the police will be focusing on.
“I believe cross-border crime has a big effect on what happens in the area. It’s thanks to operations like Nemesis, which is concentrating on taking out higher end crime, that this is dealt with.”
The list ranges from air pistols and BB guns through to more serious ‘section five’ firearms, which can include revolvers and machine guns. Ammunition included bullets, gas cannisters, and a mortar round.
Altogether, 1,313 firearms were seized in 2010 and 1,193 the following year.
The highest number were shotguns, with 384 taken in 2010 and 338 in 2011. Also high on the list were air rifles, with 415 seized.
Police say the vast majority of seizures relate to licence issues where property is often returned.
Earlier this month, teenagers Kabir Abubakar and Joshua Allen were sentenced to 30 months’ in a young offenders’ institution for threatening a taxi driver in Silverdale with an air rifle before stealing his takings.
Back in 2010, restaurant owner Mohammed Afsar, of Chaplin Road, Normacot, was shot by hired gunmen outside his home. The five men later sentenced, none of whom fired the gun, were all from the Birmingham area.
Chief Inspector Mick Boyle, of the Tactical Support Unit, said: “Incidents involving firearms within Staffordshire are rare. Our ongoing commitment to ensure public safety means that we fully investigate any information or reported incident connected to firearms.”
He stressed the weapons listed as stored in the force’s property system were ‘not a cause for concern’.
He added: “The majority of those entries relate to items seized on a temporary basis on the grounds of safety or where there were licensing issues. In most cases, once we had investigated the incident and were satisfied no safety issues existed, the items were returned to the owner.
“A number of the items relate to those handed into the police, either by people finding them or by owners who no longer wanted them.”