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Police insist the county remains safe despite a rise in legally held guns

PUBLISHED: 11:17 04 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:18 04 August 2018

The number of legally held guns in Norfolk has increased by almost 50 per cent over the past decade, new figures have revealed. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The number of legally held guns in Norfolk has increased by almost 50 per cent over the past decade, new figures have revealed. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

The number of legally held guns in Norfolk has increased by almost 50 per cent over the past decade, new figures have revealed.

Figures released by the Home Office show that in March this year, there were 19,501 licensed firearms in the area, up from 12,459 in 2009.

It means there are 2,184 firearms for every 100,000 people in Norfolk, an increase of 48pc from March 2009, when local records were first collated.

In total, 5,305 valid firearm licences in Norfolk covered an average of 3.7 guns each.

There were a further 58,331 licenced shotguns in the area - also an increase on a decade ago.

Police however insisted Norfolk remained “very safe” with the level of crime involving firearms remaining “relatively low”.

Detectives are currently investigating a shooting in Adelaide Street, Norwich, which resulted in the victim, a 19-year-old from London, being admitted to hospital with serous injuries.

Three people - two 17-year-olds and a 26-year-old – were arrested following the incident on June 27 and released under investigation as the inquiry continues.

Home Office figures have shown that between April 2017 and March this year, there were 247 new applications for firearm licences in Norfolk. Of those, 99pc were granted, and just two were refused. A further 783 licences were renewed. Just 14 licences were revoked.

The firearm rate in Norfolk was higher than that across England and Wales, where 578,000 firearms - 989 for every 100,000 people - were licensed.

While in 2016-17, the most recent year for which numbers are available, there were 31 fatal shootings in England and Wales.

Altogether, there were nearly 10,000 offences in which firearms were reported to have been used. Of those, 66 took place in Norfolk.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “In relation to legally held firearms, we have a robust process in place for the issue and management of firearms certificates. We will pro-actively seize items if holders breach the conditions or upon review it’s found they are no longer fit to hold such a certificate.”

Norfolk farmer Tony Martin served three years in prison for shooting dead Fred Barras, 16, at his home in Emneth Hungate in 1999,

Mr Martin was initially found guilty of murder but this was reduced to manslaughter on appeal.

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