MORE than 11,000 Cheshire residents own guns, according to new figures.

The Government last month released its latest statistics on the number of firearm and shotgun certificate holders across the country.

And, as of March this year, there were more than 11,581 people in Cheshire who held either a firearm or shotgun certificate.

In total, there were 11,242 shotgun holders across the county and 2,799 residents carrying firearms.

The overall figure has reduced from 11,957 in April 2016.

Over the past year, 133 new applications for certificates were granted and five were refused.

Meanwhile, two existing certificates were revoked.

An average of three guns were kept per certificate, meaning a total of 735 firearms were kept per 100,000 residents.

Cheshire Police recently introduced new measures which require all applicants for firearms licenses to provide medical information verified by their GP before any application can be approved.

A force spokesman said: “You are now required to provide medical information verified by a GP for all firearm and shotgun applications – this includes renewals.

“This applies to any application, whether declaring a medical condition or not.

“The change is being implemented to enable Cheshire Constabulary to make informed decisions which will protect both the shooting community and the wider public.

“Applicants are reminded that it is a criminal offence to make a dishonest declaration when providing information to support your application.

“The fact you have a condition may not necessarily mean your application is refused.

“However, a false declaration could result in your application being refused, your existing license being revoked and your firearms or shotguns being seized.”

Dozens of firearms were handed into Cheshire Police during a two-week gun amnesty earlier this year, with a total of 59 weapons surrendered at police stations across the county – including Warrington Police Station.

All were then deactivated and destroyed after checks were carried out.

Cheshire Police inspector David Price said: “Although gun crime is low in Cheshire, we must never forget that illegal firearms are dangerous and handing them in to police goes a long way in making your community a safer place.

“Even though the surrender has ended, I still want to encourage anyone who holds an unwanted or illegal firearm to contact police on 101 and we can arrange for it to be collected and destroyed.”