Kiddies Cops and Robbers A Game of the Past

As new legislation banning imitation guns comes into play

Thousands of pounds worth of replica guns are set to be destroyed by Trading Standards officers in Ealing in readiness for a new nationwide ban.

An importer in the borough has agreed to hand over 700 guns after being reminded by council officers that from next week it will become an offence to manufacture, import or sell realistic replica firearms.

Two van loads of the imitation guns, including pistols, shotguns and AK47 style automatic weapons were handed over by the importer to ensure they didn’t fall foul of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (Realistic Imitation Firearms) Regulations 2007, which took effect this week on Monday 1st October.

The new legislation covers all realistic replica firearms, including ball bearing guns and even some toys. Trading Standards officers will gather information about shops which are breaching the ban and pass it to police to take action. There are few exceptions to the ban, those include guns used for theatrical purposes and replicas used for official air-soft sport events.

Anyone breaching the ban faces a £5,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment.

Councillor Sue Emment, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said,“Imitation weapons have become increasingly realistic over recent years. It can be virtually impossible for people to tell the difference between some of the fake guns sold at market stalls and toy shop chains from the real thing. Sadly these fakes are often used in crime, so we welcome this ban and will be working closely with our colleagues in the police to ensure that it’s enforced.

“Trading Standards officers will be working with local businesses and traders to unearth anyone dealing in replica guns and we’ll be passing on information to the police. Our message to importers and shops is if you have any stock, contact us now and let us destroy it for you. If you don’t and you’re still selling them next week, you will face very tough penalties.”

Detective Superintendent Julian Worker Ealing Borough Police said: “Even trained police officers have great difficulty distinguishing these guns from actual firearms and will always act as if they are real. There is a potential risk of an offender being shot by armed response officers who are unable to establish the exact nature of the weapon.

“Possession of a prohibited firearm now carries a minimum jail sentence of five years and anyone in possession of an imitation firearm puts themselves, the public and police officers at unnecessary risk.

“Any persons with any information on the sale or use of illegal firearms in any area of Ealing Borough should contact Ealing Police on 020-8246-1212 or Crimestoppers Anonymously on 0800-555111. Information received will be treated with the strictest confidence.”


October 2, 2007