Amnesties held by police forces across the country normally unearth a wide range of deadly weapons – but it is rare for an amnesty to yield as many with plastic or elastic parts as this novel event.
The Foolhardy Folk Circus, based at Church Road, Sprowston, organised the a toy gun amnesty outside The Forum in Norwich’s Millennium Plain over the weekend encouraging youngsters to hand in their plastic guns in return for a toy duck and a heart.
The murder of 11-year-old schoolboy Rhys Jones who was shot as he walked home from football practice to his home in Liverpool, in August and a spate of other gun-related tragedies prompted Cosmo Hardy to organise the Guns Are Not Toys amnesty in Norwich on Saturday.
“It’s an idea we had as clowns because of the current climate with all the gun crime,” he said. “Everyone wants to try and solve it and we’re saying start at the roots which is in childhood.”
Cosmo, who was one of about three clowns taking part in the amnesty, said it was the first time he had arranged such an event, but was delighted with the public’s reaction.
“We had a fantastic response,” he said. “A lot of parents said they had already banned guns in the house, while other children have walked away with a leaflet, and someone said they would bring me all their swords.“We had a handful of guns handed in – ones which fire elastic bands – but it’s more the idea about getting the message out there.”