Police offer air weapon warning

POLICE in Whitby are warning residents to take care after an increase in the number of reports received in relation to anti-social behaviour with youths and air weapons.

Whitby police constable Steve Voyzey said: “With lighter nights and warmer weather coming on Whitby Police would like to draw parents attention to the laws in relation to air weapons.

“Many young people go through a stage where they are interested in them but the laws regulating guns, including air weapons, can easily mean that they can very quickly get into trouble and could even end up with a criminal conviction.”

Possession of air weapons is covered under the Firearms Act 1968 and states that a person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, has with him in a public place an air weapon, even if it is unloaded.

It is not necessary for the weapon to have lethal effect to fall within this act and it is also an offence for a person under 18 to be in possession of an air weapon in a public place.Eighteen is now the minimum age at which you may buy, hire or be given an air gun or ammunition or travel with it unaccompanied.

Anyone under the age of 18 may borrow and use an air gun for target practice as a member of an approved club, or at a shooting gallery for air guns and miniature rifles. A person aged 14-16 may borrow an air gun from a person aged 18 or over and use it on private property without supervision.

Anyone aged 14-17 may only carry an air gun in a public place if under the supervision of someone aged 21 or over and there is a good reason for doing so.

A person under 14 may use an air gun under the supervision of a person aged 21 or over, on private premises with the consent of the occupier of those premises.

The maximum penalty that a magistrates’ court may impose on a young person is £1,000.