By Floyd French

Observer Reporter

floydfrench@thestkittsnevisobserver.com

(Basseterre, St. Kitts) – Police seized an illegal firearm on the premises of an elderly couple who live in Pitcairn Street , Basseterre . Police intelligence led to the search of the premises on July 15 and the 7.62mm sniper rifle was found buried in the yard.

The names of the couple have not been released and the police have not identified them as suspects. Public Relations Officer for the police, Inspector Cromwell Henry said the couple agreed to the search and no warrant was necessary. The investigation is ongoing and police do not suspect the couple of any involvement.

At his monthly press conference on July 9, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas urged the public to be vigilant of the criminals’ efforts to hide their guns, and he warned that they are using abandoned properties and other unsuspecting places. The property of the elderly couple, who are over 70, might be one of those “seemingly innocent places,” according to the Prime Minister, that criminals are now using to hide their guns.

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The number of illegal firearms seized so far for this year has topped the total seized last year. With roughly six months before the year closes, the number of guns confiscated so far is 22 compared to 21 for 2007.

Inspector Henry is confident that the number proves that the police are more aggressive in finding illegal firearms and ammunition and should reassure the public confidence in that effort.

“We are pleased, it shows our efforts to reduce the number of illegal firearms are bearing fruits, and it encourages us to keep up the momentum and from time to time review our plans,” he said.

The chance of those weapons being used to commit further crime has been eliminated according to Inspector Henry.

The Federation has registered 13 murders for the year, 10 of which were gun-related. The cache of firearm seized so far range from revolvers to rifles both automatic and semi-automatic. Many of the guns have not been traced to their owners but ballistic tests are done to find out their origin, or whether they have been used in any crime.