The cases would then be entered on the ballistics database so that they could be matched with the gun if it came to be used in a crime.

The police provided evidence bags in which shooters were asked to place their spent cases.

After several enquiries from shooters, Jim Jones, of the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), issued the following statement:
?The request GMP have made to their certificate holders is to recover a used cartridge case from each of their guns/barrels. The case should be sealed in one of the bags provided. The bag marked with details of the gun and when the case was recovered. The case is then retained by the certificate holder in a place away from their guns. There is absolutely no suggestion of submitting [the cartridge cases] to the police. There is nothing sinister in this request, as cases would only come into the possession of the police after a gun was reported lost or stolen. The project is purely voluntary and I can assure that those who do not wish to participate will not be disadvantaged in any way. I look upon it as shooters and licensing authorities working together in the interests of safety.?

BASC?s Simon Clarke said: ?This appears to be an over-enthusiastic initiative on the part of Greater Manchester Police that would serve little practical purpose. If BASC members wished to get involved, it is, of course, entirely up to them. The number of legally held shotguns to be stolen each year is so small as to be statistically insignificant. One might think the police had better things to do with their time than to collect a library of spent shotgun cartridges.?