Police launch two-week weapons surrender in England and Wales

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Media captionPolice have urged the public to surrender unwanted firearms

People in England and Wales have two weeks to hand in guns, other weapons and ammunition to police stations without being punished for possession.

People who surrender firearms will not automatically be charged, but will be if they are later connected to a crime.

Police say many firearms are held in ignorance of their illegality.

The parents of 18-year-old Yusuf Sonko, who was shot dead in Liverpool on 2 June, have called on people to hand in any firearms.

Papa and Kajdijah Sonko spoke to BBC Breakfast about finding out that their son had been killed.

Mr Sonko said he was "a bright boy who had finished his last exam to go to university", and was "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Kajdijah Sonko pleaded with anyone who owns a gun to give it into police.

She added: "Every single day another family is crying."

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Media captionYusuf Sonka's grieving parents urge people to hand over their weapons

The National Ballistics Intelligence Service said that families sometimes do not know what to do with firearms left behind by elderly relatives.

Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan said police were "realistic" that they were "not going to get hardened gang members" surrendering their arms.

But she added: "This is part of our response to try and make it as difficult as possible for those people to come into possession of any type of weapon at all.

"You don't have to give your name or address, we just want more guns out of harm's way."

Reality Check: Is crime up or down?

Illegally-held BB-guns, air weapons, rifles, shotguns or pistols are among the weapons police say should be handed in by the 26 November cut-off.

Police think some people come across weapons when clearing the houses of relatives and may not know what to do with them.

'Save a life'

Ms McMillan said: "It could be a trophy of war, it could be a starting pistol - please contact us on 101 and arrange to hand it in to your nearest police station."

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She added: "Each firearm we retrieve has the potential to save a life so do the right thing and surrender your weapon."

After the last gun surrender in England and Wales in 2014, more than 6,000 weapons were handed in.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton, said: "Surrendering unwanted or illegal firearms avoids the risk of them becoming involved in crime."

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that crime involving firearms in England and Wales increased by 27% in the year to June 2017.

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