OFFICERS clamping down on the possession of illegal firearms have seized a pistol from an address in Hexham.

Acting on intelligence received from partner agencies which suggested a number of firearms were being kept illegally, specialist firearms officers recovered a pistol from Hallstile Bank, Hexham earlier this month, as well as from properties in Gosforth, North Shields and Lemington.

As part of Operation Aztec – the national firearms surrender which takes place from July 20 to August 4 – Northumbria police are encouraging people to take their unwanted firearms to designated police stations where they can dispose of it safely and of their own accord.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fairlamb of the Force’s Intelligence Bureau said: “If you know where a weapon is being kept illegally, now is your chance to give up the gun, or tell us anonymously where it is. You will not be prosecuted and you could save a life.”

Any weapons handed in through Operation Aztec will be disposed of by Northumbria Police. Those handing in firearms will be free from prosecution at the time of the surrender, but may face further action at a later date if their firearm has links to a crime.

Firearms can be taken to either Forth Banks, Middle Engine Lane or Southwick stations any time before August 4.