The Metropolitan Police has issued a warning to shotgun owners to remind them to make extra efforts to protect their guns following a firearms court case involving a shotgun which had been stolen from a gun cupboard in Surrey.

The advice comes as the Met recorded a 57 per cent increase in crimes involving shotguns in its area in the past year. In total, 165 crimes involved shotguns in London between January and July 2009. Earlier this month, Colt Welch was jailed for five years after shooting at police with a sawnoff shotgun during a car chase in north London. It emerged that he was using a 12-bore that had been stolen from the gun cabinet of a house in Surrey while the licensed owner was away on holiday.

Detective superintendent Gary Donnison, from the Met’s anti-shooting unit Operation Trident, said: “The lower cost of ammunition, the ease of use and the absence of viable alternatives means that shotguns are being used by criminals as an accessory to their crimes. There has been significant success in seizing firearms such as handguns and pistols, and it is possible that the success is forcing criminals down a different avenue.”

The rest of this article appears in 12th August issue of Shooting Times.

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