DAVID BARRINGTON BARNES
There are several things you can do, but bear in mind that standard condition 4(a) of your shotgun certificate obliges you to store your shotguns securely so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access to them by an unauthorised person.
This condition is intended to prevent any unauthorised person, be they your spouse, child or a burglar, getting hold of your shotguns.
Failure to comply with this condition is a criminal offence. The way you prevent unauthorised access is a matter for you.
It is your responsibility to store your guns securely, but the way you do this is not prescribed.
More often than not, keeping your guns in a locked security cabinet and hiding the key may suffice but, since you are intending to be away for a long time, such an arrangement might not meet the condition.
Indeed, the extent to which a home is to be unoccupied is one of the recommended factors to be considered in making an assessment of the security risk involved in storing shotguns on the property.
In such circumstances it might, for example, be better to ask a registered firearms dealer to store your shotguns in his armoury.
That arrangement should keep the guns out of the wrong hands and also prevent you from being prosecuted for breach of condition 4(a) and losing your certificate.