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Police call for tip-offs on guns to prevent Paris-style terror attacks

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British police are urging members of the public to call them if they know anyone with illegal guns, in a bid to prevent terror attacks like the one in Paris a year ago.
Gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people and left hundreds wounded in coordinated attacks in November last year, when they targeted a concert, a major sporting stadium, restaurants and bars, almost simultaneously.
Now police in Britain are asking for members of the public to call them and tip them off if they know of any illegal firearms in circulation.
Officers believe taking illegal guns off the streets could prevent a “marauding” style terror attack like that in the French capital.
Gun crime is on the increase in London and other major cities across the country, sparking fears that illegal guns could change hands from street gangs to extremists.
Lynne Owens, director general of the National Crime Agency, which was set up to combat serious and organised crime, said the calls were now being made to “lessen the harm to our communities and to prevent the possibility of a marauding terrorist attack in the UK.”
She added that while illegal firearms were mainly used by criminals for protection or to target other criminals, that “we must be clear that one gun in the wrong hands in a public space is all it takes to cause devastation”.
The stark warning comes as most major cities across Europe remain on heightened states of alert, with most analysts believing it is only a question of when, rather than if, the next terror attack takes place.
The official threat level in Britain is currently “severe,” meaning that a new terror attack is thought to be highly probable.
Specialist counter terrorism officers say they have prevented a dozen plots to attack Britain in the last three years.
Officers are fearful that illegal firearms are flooding into Britain from parts of eastern Europe, particularly the Balkan regions.
While automatic weapons, which have the potential to cause most damage, have previously been hard for criminals to lay their hands on, there has been an influx in the numbers of Baikal pistols and converted weapons coming in from eastern Europe.
Head of National Counter Terrorism Policing, Mark Rowley, said while the availability of illegal guns in Britain remained low compared with other countries, there was no room for complacency.