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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 05:58 GMT 06:58 UK
Gun amnesty launched
People can surrender their weapons at police stations across Kent
Owners of illegal or unwanted firearms in Kent are being urged to hand in their weapons as part of a month-long gun amnesty.

The first nationwide amnesty in seven years was launched on Monday and enables people to hand in guns to police stations without fear of being prosecuted.

The project comes just before new legislation that will make it an offence to possess a replica firearm or air weapon in a public place without a reasonable excuse.

A minimum five-year sentence will be handed out for illegal possession of a firearm under the new rules.

Firearms can be handed in at these police stations
Ashford, Canterbury
Chatham, Dartford
Dover, Faversham
Folkestone, Gravesend
Herne Bay, Maidstone
Margate, Rochester
Sheerness, Sittingbourne
Swanley, Tenterden
Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells

Superintendent Jerry Price from Kent Police said: "The purpose of the amnesty is to make the streets safer by removing as many weapons as possible. Gun crime is unacceptable.

"This amnesty is an excellent opportunity for people to hand in illegally held guns and ammunition, imitation firearms and air guns.

"It is impossible to overstate the dangers of imitation firearms. They can be impossible to distinguish from real firearms which means that using one in a crime can result in being killed by armed police officers."

Guns can be handed in at police stations with no questions asked, no ID required, no fear of arrest and no fear of prosecution.

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