HAND them over – that’s the message from police who are running a gun amnesty.

Dorset Police are asking the public to surrender illegally held or unwanted firearms and ammunition in a campaign from November 13-26.

During the surrender period, those handing in firearms or ammunition will not be arrested for illegal possession at the point of surrender and they can remain anonymous.

The history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of prior use associated with crime.

During the last firearms surrender in 2014, Dorset Police received 93 weapons – mainly shotguns and handguns – along with a large amount of ammunition. All were destroyed.

Michelle Mounsey, Firearms and Explosives Licensing Manager for the Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police Alliance, said: “We want to take out of circulation any type of firearm and ammunition, which includes guns which can still be fired, antique or unwanted collectible weapons, replica weapons, air weapons, BB guns, stun guns and ammunition that are no longer required.

“This is an opportunity to surrender firearms and not be charged with illegal possession. Remember that outside of the surrender period if police find you in possession of a firearm without a current certificate then you may be subject of court proceedings.”

Police say many firearms may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes. These include trophies of war which have been inherited from a relative.

Michelle Mounsey added: “Some people may possess guns that they do not realise are held illegally. This particularly applies to anyone who is serving or who has served a custodial sentence. Essentially, if anyone has received a suspended/custodial or youth detention sentence of more than three months but less than three years, they cannot possess a firearm or ammunition for five years after release. If the sentence was of three years or more, they are classified as a prohibited person under the Firearms Act and can never possess any type of firearm or ammunition. This applies to antique items as well.

“The message is clear – if you have even a shadow of doubt about the legality of a weapon or ammunition you possess we urge you to hand it in during the surrender.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “I fully support this initiative and would encourage anyone in possession of ammunition, parts or firearms that are worrying them to make the most of this opportunity.”

The only police station in western Dorset where guns can be handed in is Weymouth station, Radipole Lane. It is open Monday to Friday 8am-5.30pm, Saturday 9am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm. Closed Sunday.

Members of the public concerned about transporting items to the station can seek advice on how to do so by emailing 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk