North east sees highest air weapons surrender

Assistant chief constable Mark Williams shows some of the 2301 weapons which have been surrendered during the first week of a three-week Air Weapons Surrender Campaign. Picture: SWNS
Assistant chief constable Mark Williams shows some of the 2301 weapons which have been surrendered during the first week of a three-week Air Weapons Surrender Campaign. Picture: SWNS
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More than 4,000 air weapons have been handed in ahead of the introduction of new Scottish licensing laws - with the highest amount so far in Police Scotland’s north east division.

A total of 530 have been surrendered to police stations across Aberdeenshire, Moray and Aberdeen city. Police officers are urging people to hand in any remaining air weapons before next Sunday.

The Scottish government pledged to introduce the licensing scheme following the death of toddler Andrew Morton, from Glasgow, who was shot dead by an airgun in 2005.

Under the new laws, which form the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, and which come into effect on 31 December it will be a criminal offence to have an air weapon without a licence or permit .

Anyone found guilty of the new offence could be fined or face up to two years in prison.

The new legislation requires anyone who possesses, buys, uses or acquires an air weapon to have a certificate proving that they are in legal possession of the weapon.

The current three-week amnesty is started on 23 May and runs to 12 June.

Chief inspector Richard Craig, who is leading the air weapon campaign in the north east, said : “The surrender campaign has only been active for less than two weeks however it is very encouraging that so many air weapons have been handed in here in the north east already.

“Every one of these weapons has the potential to cause serious injury or death, in particular to children or young people if handled incorrectly.

“There will be many lying around in homes across the north east unused and this is a great opportunity to get rid of them.”

Over the three week surrender campaign a total of 72 police stations - ranging from Lerwick to Stranraer - have been designated as locations where air weapons can be handed in if owners do not wish to apply for a licence.

A number of police officers have been given specialist training to support the safe surrender process and to assist in the management of demand during the period of the campaign and beyond.

Police Scotland’s website gives advice about how to safely transport the weapons to police stations.