FIREARMS can be bought on the streets of Greater Manchester for as little as £50, according to a Home Office report.

The study is based on interviews carried out by academics at Portsmouth University with 80 people serving prison sentences for gun crime.

The report states that imitation weapons could be bought for less than £100.

Sawn-off shotguns, which are often used by armed robbers and favoured for their "intimidatory value", could be bought for between £50 and £200, the report said.

Automatic weapons such as machine guns could carry a price tag of £4,000, although the cheapest went for just £800.

Handguns were cheaper if they had already been used in a crime, costing from £150, but a new 9mm model could cost between £1,000 and £1,400.

The report showed the greatest availability of illegal guns was in Manchester and Liverpool, followed by Birmingham and London. The researchers said the authorities needed to do more to tackle the conversion of imitation guns into live-firing weapons.