AN AK-47 was among 65 fearsome firearms handed in to Wiltshire Police as part of its fortnight-long gun surrender.

The automatic rifle, beloved of terrorists the world over, was most recently used to deadly effect in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday by a shooter alleged to have killed at least 20 people in a Walmart supermarket.

Thanking those who had disposed of weapons at police stations across the county, Insp Paul Saunders said: “Firearms can have devastating consequences in the wrong hands, whether that is the hands of criminals, children, or vulnerable people.”

In total, 65 firearms were handed-in during the two-week amnesty. They included an air rifle made to look like a deadly sniper rifle, shotguns, BB guns, starter pistols, a First World War bold-action rifle and the kind of muzzle-loading rifles that would not have looked out of place at the Battle of Waterloo.

Police were also given 82 knives, two canisters of pepper spray and a can of irritant mace.

Insp Saunders, who is responsible for armed policing at the Wiltshire force, said the surrender meant there were 65 fewer unwanted or unlicensed firearms in the county: “Wiltshire is largely a rural county, we know there are people who legally own or collect firearms.

“During these two weeks we have been appealing to them to think about the safety of their guns: how they store them, who could have access, where they are using them and how they are transporting them.

“The items handed in during the surrender have demonstrated how air guns, something you do not ordinarily require a licence for, are designed to look very similar to live firearms and, if not handled carefully or seen by the public, could trigger a full police firearms response.

“The majority of firearms collected will be destroyed. However, some will be kept for training purposes and other antique items are likely to be passed to museums for them to display.”

Many of the weapons left with police were antiques: war trophies or collectibles that might have been handed down through the generations.

Insp Saunders said: “Many firearms are held without awareness of their legality or may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes. I would urge the public that if you are not using your firearm, or if you have found an old one when tidying out the loft or shed, please take responsibility and safely dispose of it by handing it in to us.”

People could dispose of guns, knives or ammunition at police enquiry offices at any time, the police officer added.