A GUN amnesty is being held to prevent firearms and ammunition getting into the wrong hands.

People who hand in their firearms will not be prosecuted during Greater Manchester Police’s amnesty and do not have to give officers their details.

Gun crime within the force’s area has fallen since its peak in 2007/2008k, but police believe many firearms are still being kept at people’s homes in innocence and ignorance of their illegality.

And for one family directly affected by gun crime, the pain is as real as the day 20-year-old Halton McCollin was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity six years ago.

Mr McCollin, whose parents live in Astley Bridge, innocently went to buy a takeaway after a day’s work when he was shot in the back of the head in Chester Road, Stretford, just before 9pm on January 19, 2008 — he died three days later when his family made the devastating decision to switch off his life-support machine.

Police offered a reward of £50,000 for information leading to his killer’s conviction — but the gunman remains at large.

Det Ch Insp Debbie Dooley said: “Gun crime in Manchester continues to fall year on year since the last amnesty we held in 2008.

“This is a result of continued efforts from the force and our partners working together to safeguard, educate and intervene at the earliest opportunity.

“We want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to hand them in.

“Together with our partners we continually work hard to educate young people about firearms and the dangers that come with them, to ensure that gun crime doesn’t become prevalent in the future.”

Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s police and crime commissioner, added: “Greater Manchester has led the way in both reducing and sustaining the reduction in gun crime over several years.

“This is as a direct result of the police, public bodies such as local authorities, probation or youth offending services and — crucially — communities working together in a genuine partnership.

“This year’s amnesty shows that we won’t stop trying to address this issue. Anyone in possession of a firearm should take this opportunity to hand it in without facing prosecution — it is simply the smart thing to do.

“I’ve seen first-hand the destruction that guns have caused to families and communities in our area. Every weapon removed from the streets potentially represents a life saved, or indeed many lives saved. This amnesty will help us realise our goal of having streets that are safe and free from guns.”

During the amnesty there will also be a change in legislation which will make it illegal for certain people to hold weapons such as antique firearms.

The amnesty will end on Saturday, July 26, at 11.59pm.

People can hand the guns and ammunition in at their nearest police station, with a helpdesk, with no questions asked.

A reward of up to £1,000 is being offered by police for information on people involved in illegal firearms by calling police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on freephone 0800 555111. A reward will be given for information leading to the recovery of a firearm, an arrest and conviction.