Law-abiding gun owners are being reminded to lock away their firearms after new figures revealed more than 400 were stolen in West Yorkshire in three years.
New figures revealed that 413 firearms – including replicas and decommissioned guns – were stolen between October 2013 and October last year.
Just 19 stolen firearms were recovered, according to figures released by West Yorkshire Police under Freedom of Information legislation.
Last month it was revealed that the number of guns seized in West Yorkshire has risen by almost 50% in three years, with children as young as 11 among those arrested.
A total of 292 guns, imitation guns and stun guns were seized in 2014, compared with 333 in 2015 and 431 last year.
Both sets of figures were released amid rising concerns about gun crime in Huddersfield, with recent shootings in Birkby, Dalton, Sheepridge, Deighton, Lockwood and Fartown.
The most recent shooting took place at a barber’s shop in Birkby which saw a man wounded in the leg. Two men are currently on bail after being questioned about the Birkby incident.
A police spokesman said it treated the theft of firearms very seriously.
The spokesman said it was important to note that the figures for stolen firearms included weapons such as replica, legally decommissioned or collectors’ items, as well as those requiring a firearms certificate.
“We held a very successful weapons surrender in January 2017 which saw 110 firearms and 158 bladed and offensive weapons surrendered, as well as 300 rounds of ammunition,” said the spokesman.
“We appreciate community concerns around firearms and weapons, and would always encourage anyone who has any information or suspicions about someone carrying one to contact the police.
“If you are firearms certificate holder you are required to keep firearms and ammunition stored securely to prevent unauthorised access to them.
“Failure to do so could see the certificate being revoked.
“We would also encourage members of the public who own legitimate firearms to store them responsibly and to take steps to keep them secure. This could include keeping items in a locked cabinet whenever they are not being used with the key also stored securely elsewhere.”
Incidents in which firearms – including air guns and replicas – have been stolen have occurred in recent years at Barkisland, Cumberworth, Longwood, Milnsbridge, Holmfirth and Kirkheaton. Police made several arrests in connection with some of the thefts.
In February last year a weapons amnesty by West Yorkshire Police led to various firearms being handed in, including two AK47 assault rifles. They were handed in to police in Bradford and Kirklees.