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Amnesty's deadly haul; Region's hospitals treating 250 flu sufferers.

Byline: SOPHIE DOUGHTY Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk @Sophie_Doughty

NORTH East hospitals have revealed there are currently 250 people in hospital with flu, with a 30% increase in admissions in the last 24 hours.

As cold weather grips the region, NHS figures show that 57 people have been admitted to wards since Wednesday. There has been a "significant rise" in flu cases in recent weeks, according to a regional health service spokesperson, and hospitals are urging people who have symptoms to stay at home to prevent it from spreading. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have the most inpatients, with 77 so far this winter and 20 admitted in the last 24 hours. City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust have seen the second most with 49 and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have confirmed 48 cases. Public health England have confirmed that seasonal flu activity levels have been on the rise in the last week across the UK but the rate of increase is slowing.

An NHS spokesperson said: "It is really important that everyone who is eligible, including all frontline NHS staff, get the flu jab ASAP to protect themselves and others."

BALLISTICS experts will examine four guns - including an AK-47 assault rifle similar to those used in deadly terror attacks - handed in at Tyneside police stations.

The public was asked to surrender their firearms to officers late last year as part of a national gun amnesty.

Northumbria Police gave people the opportunity to bring any firearms or ammunition they might possess to police stations across the force area as part of the national firearms surrender campaign, Operation Aztec.

Under the initiative, anyone who handed in a weapon did not face prosecution for possession.

All four were analysis believed to good faith no unlawful Police During the twoweek operation in November, a staggering 280 weapons were given up.

The majority will now be destroyed, while some that are of historical interest will be donated to museums.

However, four of the firearms gave police cause for suspicion.

These will now be sent away to the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) where they will be examined by experts to see whether they are linked to any crimes in the past.

However, officers do not believe the people who handed them in had any criminal intent.

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "All four firearms that were sent for analysis were believed to be held in good faith and with no unlawful intent.

"Those who surrendered the items gave full contact details and all were believed to be inherited pieces or held as World War memorabilia."

The weapons that will be analysed area PKM light machine gun, a DP28 Light Machine Gun, an AK-47 Kalashnikov automatic assault rifle and a Bohemische Waffen Fabrika self-loading pistol.

Police were shocked when the "deadly" AK-47 was handed in, having been kept at a home on Tyneside.

Officers say the gun is the type of weapon favoured by lone wolf terrorists and similar to those used in recent attacks in Paris and Mumbai.

It was being kept in a home along with two equally fearsome machine guns, all of which had not been fully deactivated and could have fired fatal rounds.

firearms that sent for were be held in and with intent spokesman Chief Insp Dave Gould said: "The AK-47 is the weapon of choice for terrorism and it had not been fully deactivated. I'm really pleased they have been handed in.

"Had they ended up in the wrong hands they would have been deadly weapons. Every gun handed in potentially saves a life."

Other weapons handed in during the surrender period included a shotgun disguised as a walking stick, guns from the First and Second World Wars, an 1890 revolver and a small number of guns which had not been correctly deactivated.

the force area firearms be that are of weapon terrorists used in Paris It a fatal Chief Gould the weapo"All four firearms that were sent for analysis were believed to be held in good faith and with no unlawful intent Police spokesman

CAPTION(S):

A collection of guns and rifles at Follingsby firing range that were collected at a recent amnesty. Chief Inspector Dave Gould with part of the collection which includes an AK-47 rifle
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 20, 2018
Words:716
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