Imitation gun warning - owners could be shot

OWNERS of fake guns which look almost identical to the real thing risk being shot, regardless of their age - police have warned

OWNERS of fake guns which look almost identical to the real thing risk being shot, regardless of their age - police have warned.Officers are concerned that replica weapons, which are available in Weston for as little as £20, will soon cause a death due to the difficulty in telling a fake from the real thing.On May 25 authorised firearms officers (AFOs) were called to a house in Sandford Road, Weston, after receiving information that an assault rifle was at the property. During the raid, which involved over 20 police officers, the AFOs found an imitation Heckler-Koch G36C assault rifle at the house which was almost identical to ones used by police.The replica was so realistic that, at first, the police believed it to be genuine.Weston Mercury reporter, Gavin Cox, spoke to the AFOs who recovered the gun at the police station in Winterstoke Road. They say the resemblance to the real weapon is frightening and they are concerned that youngsters or parents buying such a weapon run the risk of being shot if it is misused. AFO Paul Wilkinson said: "You could not tell the difference just by looking at it from a distance. I would have to pick it up to tell. "Any armed response team would have real difficulty being able to tell whether the gun was real or not. "If one of these guns is pointed at a police officer or a member of the public, the likelihood is that the holder would be shot, regardless of the age of the person with their finger on the trigger."AFO Ian Womack added: "To give the benefit of the doubt to someone pointing a gun could cause the death of an innocent member of the public or a police officer."Some of these replica guns are so close to the real thing that at a distance of just a few feet it is very difficult to tell the difference."Superintendent, Julian Moss, said: "We want to make people aware of the dangers they may face if they own such imitation weapons. When faced with a member of public with a weapon, genuine or imitation, a firearms officer has to make a difficult decision in a high pressure situation."Unless the officer is up very close to the weapon they cannot tell the difference and the member of the public risks being shot. We would therefore ask people to think twice about owning such a weapon. We will always act on information we receive from the public about firearms and seek to arrest offenders."The replica rifle has since been destroyed by police.

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