ILLEGAL firearms and ammunition can be handed into police stations for the next two weeks - as Thames Valley Police (TVP) looks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

The Firearms and Ammunition Surrender takes place from today (Monday, November 13) to November 26.

The surrender is giving people the chance to hand in any firearms or ammunition which have come into their possession for whatever reason.

Those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession – and can remain anonymous.

But if examination of a firearm reveals a link to a crime, it will still be investigated, TVP said, as the Surrender is not an amnesty.

A TVP spokesperson said: "Whether it is an old family heirloom that has been stored away for years, a former military weapon or an unwanted firearm which was previously legally owned - all can be handed in to your local police station, safe in the knowledge that they will be disposed of safely.

"We will also accept replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, antique guns, component parts and other ballistic items.

"During the fortnight firearms licence holders are also being encouraged to consider the surrender of weapons they no longer have any use for."

The surrender is part of a wider initiative run by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).

Chief Inspector Emma Baillie, head of armed response for the Joint Operations Unit for Hampshire and Thames Valley, said: “This is your chance to safely dispose of any guns or ammunition you no longer want but don’t know what to do with.

“Surrender them now and we can dispose of them safely, making sure that they do not fall into the hands of criminals.

“We know that the consequences of firearms or replica firearms falling into the wrong hands can be fatal and can cause real fear within our communities.

“They also have the potential of being used against our own officers who could find themselves confronted with someone wielding a weapon in public.

“While crimes involving firearms in the Thames Valley region are rare, we know that every firearm poses a potential threat if they are not licensed and stored safely.

“That is why we are offering this opportunity to safely hand in your unwanted firearms.

“The fight against gun crime is stronger than ever. We take all reports of incidents involving firearms extremely seriously and robust action will be taken against anyone who commits a firearms related offence.”

Maidenhead and Slough Police stations will be open from 8am to 10pm every day as part of the Surrender to accept guns and ammunition.

For further advice ring 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111