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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Gun amnesty nets assault rifle
AK47 assault rifle handed in under gun amnesty
Police say an AK47 rifle may be a souvenir from the last Gulf War
An AK47 assault rifle is among 164 weapons which have been handed in to police in the first week of a firearms amnesty.

The campaign, launched by Sussex Police on 31 March, is part of a nationwide amnesty and will run until the end of April.

Officers believe the AK47, which is currently in use by troops fighting in Iraq, may have been taken as a souvenir by a British soldier in the last Gulf conflict.

The Kalashnikov weapon was still in working order, police said.

Colt revolver

Officers have also taken in 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Williams, of Sussex Police, said they had been surprised by the number and variety of weapons handed in.

He said: "People have found them in attics, garages, sheds - and there's people who've had them for a while and haven't had them licensed and decided to take the opportunity to get rid of them."

Relica gun handed in under a firearms amnesty and real weapon (top)
Replica guns handed in are hard to tell from a real one (top)

Officers at Hastings police station collected 11 weapons from Saturday to Monday, including a single action Colt revolver, air rifles and pistols and an imitation firearm.

Among 11 weapons handed in at Bexhill police station on Monday were a folding "poacher's" shotgun, a starting pistol and air weapons.

The most unusual item was a "palm gun", a revolver measuring less than four inches with no trigger guard.

New laws will make it an arrestable offence to possess a replica firearm or air weapon in a public place - with a minimum five-year setence for illegal possession of a firearm.

Weapons can be handed in at any designated police station.

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