Gun amnesty: Second Boer War era rifle surrendered in Wales

A faded black and white photograph showing a group of soldiers standing around a cache of rifles lying on the floor

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© IWM (Q 72023)

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British soldiers collecting captured rifles from Boer fighters during the Second Boer War

A rifle from the Second Boer War era was among firearms handed into police as part of a national crackdown.

At least 119 weapons and rounds of ammunition were given to Welsh forces during a “surrender campaign”.

North Wales Police received 34 weapons, including the relic from the period of the war in South Africa between 1899-1902, and a rifle from World War One.

Dyfed-Powys received three pistols and a stun gun among its 55-weapon haul and Gwent Police received 30 firearms.

South Wales Police has been asked how many weapons it received during the clampdown.

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Royal Armouries

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The Royal Armouries in Leeds has a collection of rifles from the Boer War, some with decorations and inscriptions on the stock

Weapons of historical importance can end up at museums rather than being destroyed, according to a spokeswoman for the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, which coordinated the campaign.

Jonathan Ferguson of the Royal Armouries in Leeds said any object with Boer War provenance was “historically significant”.

The museum’s own collection includes several rifles with decorations carved into the stock such as one with the name Burger Johannes Nicolaas Christophel Fourie, who fought against the British.

Most of the weapons handed into the Welsh police forces were shotguns, rifles and air pistols.

“Thankfully these weapons are no longer at risk of falling in to the wrong hands,” said Supt Jon Cummins, head of specialist operations for the force.

A Gwent Police spokeswoman said “hundreds” of shotgun cartridges, shells, live ammunition and bullets were surrendered at its stations.

In 2017 when the last gun amnesty was held, Dyfed-Powys Police received 189 weapons, North Wales received 121 and Gwent said it received 41 “lethal firearms” as well as 17 air weapons, two starter pistols, two BB guns, a replica pistol and four toy guns.

National Police Chief’s Council lead for criminal use of firearms, Helen McMillan, was keen to highlight that “stun guns and similar devices are illegal in the UK and may not be brought in from abroad”.

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