Northumbria Police has told shoppers they could face court action for buying stun guns and realistic-looking imitation firearms online as they urge people not to be ignorant of the law.
It follows concerns over the rising number of people using online retailers such as ‘Wish’ to buy replica firearms and offensive weapons such as flick knives and knuckledusters from overseas.
Work is ongoing between the force and the UK Border Force Agency to prevent dangerous packages being delivered.
Last year a total of 206 illegal items were seized, with buyers served with cease and desist letters.
Of these, 19 crimes were identified with a number progressing through the justice system.
So far this year, a total of 111 items have been seized and 13 crimes already identified.
Detective Sergeant Chris Hogg said: “Just because something is for sale online, it does not mean it is legal to own and just because you buy an item from another country, it does not mean the law does not apply.”
Legislation bans the importation of dangerous items such as batons, flick knives, knuckle dusters and firearms and later this year, when the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 takes effect, officers will have more power to seize weapons.
Det Sgt Hogg added: “Under the current legislation - if someone has bought an offensive weapon from overseas, we’ll be notified by border force when it arrives here, and pay that person a visit.
“Usually we offer that person advice and remind them of the law, and the item is destroyed.
"However, on a number of occasions, people don’t realise what they have done is against the law and often own similar items which they volunteer to us.
“But when the new legislation kicks in, simply having an offensive weapon in your home will be enough to risk prosecution and it will be seized with or without your consent.”