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Posted on Tuesday 3 August 2021

Police have destroyed and recycled 2 tonnes of firearms, taking over 1000 weapons off the streets of County Durham and Darlington in one fell swoop.

The firearms, which include the likes of shotguns, air weapons, and stun devices, had been collected by police over a period of 12 months.

Additionally, several containers full of knives, swords and other edged weapons were sent to the shredder along with them.

Some of the items were surrendered to police by licensed owners, while others had been seized by officers due to being illegally held or used in crime.

At the EMR Metal Recycling site in Leeds, six containers full of weapons were loaded into scrap vehicles and shredded into thousands of metal fragments.

The operation was carried out in partnership with EMR, who offered their facilities free of charge to assist police in disposing of the weapons.

PC Mark Outhwaite, Force Armourer at Durham Constabulary, said: “The firearms crime rate remains very low in County Durham and Darlington, and part of that is down to operations like these and the firearms surrenders that we take part in regularly.

“A lot of these items are held perfectly innocently, such as antique firearms that have been passed down through generations, whereas others are kept for more nefarious purposes.

“The reality is that even legally held weapons can pose a significant risk to the public if they fall into the wrong hands, which is why removing them from circulation is so critical to keeping our communities safe.”

For queries regarding firearms and licenses, contact the Firearms Licensing unit by emailing

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