ILLEGAL gun owners in East Lancashire are being urged to hand in their weapons and ammunition to ensure they can't be used to 'harm or threaten our communities'.

The two-week firearm amnesty will start on Monday, November 13, and will see people able to hand in weapons at Blackburn Greenbank and Burnley Police Stations.

The latest nationwide amnesty comes on the back of a number of firearm discharges across Hyndburn in recent months, including the fatal shooting of father-of-two Lee Holt.

Superintendent Julian Platt said: “Our aim is to keep Lancashire safe which we will do by working with partners and our local communities to prevent and detect crime.

“This nationwide amnesty is a very good example of how members of the public can directly help us prevent harm to our local communities by removing the risk of weapons getting into the wrong hands.

“We want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to use this opportunity to hand them in. We’d also encourage anyone who knows about weapons being kept illegally to tell us anonymously where there are and potentially help save a life.

“One weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities. We will use all of the powers and information available to us to locate this criminality and put a stop to it for good.”

A similar amnesty last year saw 139 firearms were handed in, including shotguns and rifles as well as high powered air weapons and ammunition.

During the two-week firearms amnesty, those surrendering firearms may not face prosecution for the illegal possession and can remain anonymous.

However, each firearm handed in will be assessed by specially trained officers, with some weapons being forensically-checked for evidence.

A police spokesman said surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place.

Police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “I fully support Lancashire Constabulary in their campaign to remove dangerous firearms from our streets

"There are a number of reasons that people may find themselves with a firearm they should not have, whether through inheritance or legally owned guns they have no more use for, and this is an opportunity to dispose of them safely.

"I am committed to tackling violent crime and ensuring residents feel safe and secure in their communities. Handing in these potentially fatal weapons is an important step and I would urge residents to make the right decision and hand over any illegal firearms they are in possession of."

Weapons and ammunition should be surrendered at the designated local police stations between 8am and 10pm. Anyone who is physically unable to get to a station can call 101 for advice.

If you know of people involved in illegal firearms call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, report it online at it or call 101.