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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 13:15 GMT
Handgun found by bin collectors
Rubbish truck
Rubbish collectors found the weapon on their rounds
It's something we do every week - a household chore that is given very little thought - putting out the rubbish.

Yesterday's curry cartons are collected and taken to a landfill site - end of story. Well, at least you would think so.

But one south Wales council has compiled a top 10 of the strangest items that have ever been found in black bin liners - discarded remnants of every aspects of life.

Among them was a photo albums cataloguing someone's life from birth to old age and a wooden leg, a set of wedding rings and, more worryingly, a hand gun.

Contractors working for Newport Council's depot in Docks Way last August, came across the weapon as they sifted through piles of waste at the city's civic amenity site and handed into Gwent Police officers who confirmed to staff that it was a deactivated weapon - which means many of its working parts are removed.

But, officers say, the gun could still have proved dangerous if it had fallen into the wrong hands as criminals are able to convert such weapons into live, usable firearms with the aid of special kits.

We have had people running after the lorries after they realised what they just threw away.
Spokesman, Newport Council

"Staff were shocked to find something potentially dangerous within a skip of scrap metal," said a spokesman for Newport Council.

"Finding a gun was a real eye opener - it was the first time we have ever had anything like this before.

"The staff handed it straight into the police after they found it.

"The skips are emptied very regularly down there and we try and recycle as many things as we can.

"The last thing we expected when we sifted through the various pots and pans was a gun," he added.

Among the other things picked up by refuse collectors on their rounds have been:

  • A set of wedding rings
  • A woman's jewellery set
  • A new PlayStation console and games
  • Purses full of money
  • Bagfuls of shopping
  • Dead sheep
  • False teeth
  • Wooden leg
  • Photo album of snaps from birth to old age.

    "A lot of things were thrown out by accident," said the spokesman.

    "We have had people running after the lorries after they realised what they just threw away.

    "Every item that gets discarded has a story to tell and we urge people to think more carefully about what they are throwing away.

    "It was pretty shocking for the staff to find a gun though," he added.

    According to the national waste charity, Waste Watch, each household in the UK throws away over a tonne of waste every year.

    On average every person in the UK throws away his or her own body weight in rubbish every two months.

    'Criminals buy gun parts on net'
    27 Jul 01  |  UK News
    Shotgun was 'hidden in rubbish'
    07 Nov 03  |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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