DOZENS of illegal firearms – including a rare cane shotgun – have been handed in to Cheshire police officers as part of a two-week surrender.

The owners handed in a total of 59 weapons during the surrender.

Overall 20 shotguns, 21 air rifles and air pistols, five hand guns and 10 others were handed into police stations anonymously throughout the county. One of the weapons included a walking cane shotgun, a rare, prohibited weapon for which people cannot get a licence.

The public also used the initiative to hand in imitation firearms such as BB guns or airsoft weapons.

Those who surrendered an illegal firearm would not face prosecution for being in possession of the weapon, which can normally lead to a five-year prison sentence.

Inspector David Price said: “While it isn’t unusual for the public to hand in firearms throughout the year, I want to thank those who did so during the surrender. You have helped play your part in stopping them from falling into the hands of dangerous criminals.

“I also want to thank those who handed in imitation firearms such as BB guns and airsoft weapons which look like real firearms and are often used by criminals to threaten and frighten others.

“Although gun crime is low in Cheshire, we must never forget that illegal firearms are dangerous and handing them in to police goes a long way in making your community a safer place.

“Even though the surrender has ended I still want to encourage anyone who holds an unwanted or illegal firearm to contact police on 101 and we can arrange for it to be collected and destroyed.”

David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, added: “This firearms surrender has taken a significant number of dangerous weapons off our streets and stopped them getting into the hands of criminals, which could have had serious or potentially fatal consequences.

“I’d like to thank members of the public that chose to do the right thing and hand in these illegal firearms during the surrender.

"I’d also like to remind other Cheshire residents of the consequences of concealing a dangerous weapon and encourage anyone in illegal possession of a firearm to contact police.”

All the weapons will be examined to ensure they have not been used in any criminal offences before being deactivated and destroyed.