MORE than 180 firearms have been handed in to Essex Police during a two-week amnesty.

A total of 184 firearms - including 69 real guns, 64 imitation guns, 50 air weapons and a stun gun were handed in during the surrender, as well as 9,000 rounds of ammunition.

Officers tested the items to identify whether they had been used in crime - 83 met the criteria to be registered with the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, 20 needed further tests and another 35 are still under review.

The previous firearm surrender, held between October and November, last year saw 129 firearms handed in.

Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Fordham said: “Firearms can ruin lives and I’m really pleased we’ve had so many handed into us.

“One gun handed in to us is one fewer that could get into the hands of criminals, but to have more than 180 is a fantastic result.

“Whether they be real or imitation firearms, they cause fear and concern and are used by criminals threaten, harm and kill.

“I think the response we’ve had indicates people in Essex feel as strongly about preventing firearms from falling into the wrong hands as we do and I want to thank them for their support to make Essex an even safer place.

“We take crimes involving firearms very seriously and I would urge you to contact us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you have any information about someone having or using an illegally held firearm.”