Surrender success as 180 weapons removed from South Yorkshire streets

Arms amnesty leader Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker with the haul
Arms amnesty leader Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker with the haul

Over 180 weapons are now in police possession and unable to fall into criminal hands after a three-week amnesty.

South Yorkshire Police launched the surrender to provide a method for people to dispose of any firearm or knife safely and quickly, with no fear of being prosecuted for possession.

South Yorkshire weapons surrendered

South Yorkshire weapons surrendered

Leading the campaign, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker said: “More often than not firearms can be passed down through generations as family heirlooms, leaving today’s owner without a licence and illegally in possession of an unwanted firearm.

“The surrender gave people an opportunity to be able to hand it in without fear of prosecution for possession, rather than dispose of it unsafely where it could potentially fall into the wrong hands and be used for criminal gains.

“I am pleased with the number of weapons handed in during the three-week period. One less firearm on the streets is one potential less victim of crime, and to remove 65 firearms from potential circulation in our county is a tremendous effort, and I want to thank everyone who used the opportunity to protect their family, friends and residents of South Yorkshire.”

In total there were 50 firearms handed in - 30 surrendered in Sheffield, 8 in Rotherham, 7 in Doncaster and 5 in Barnsley. In addition, a further 15 firearms were collected from around the region.

The types of firearms surrendered included shotguns, pistols, and BB guns as well as air rifles and handguns and over 200 rounds of ammunition. There was also 120 knives handed in which included samurai swords.

DCI Whittaker added: “Those who choose to arm themselves and commit crime are responsible for damaging our communities and are a blight on society, and I want to make it very clear that the use of firearms and knives in South Yorkshire will not be tolerated.

“If you have any information regarding the use of firearms or any suspicious activity in your area, I would urge you to anonymously contact the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, who will treat your call with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity.”

The weapons surrender began on Monday July 11 and ended yesterday (Tuesday August 2). Immunity was provided against prosecution for possession at the time the weapon was handed in, however all the weapons will undergo forensic testing and if they are found to have been used in previous criminal activity, it will be investigated by police and there could be potential prosecutions.

The surrender was the first strand of the wider Organised Crime Group campaign the Force launched on Monday, 25 July, designed to raise awareness and increase people’s knowledge of organised crime and armed criminality, as well as offering reassurance and advice as to how the public can help by anonymously reporting suspicious activity and behaviour. The OCG campaign will continue until Autumn time.