THERE were more than 200 gun crimes recorded in Essex last year.

Home Office data revealed 215 crimes with a gun in the county during 2018/19.

The incidents include offences where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument or as a threat.

Offences with low-powered weapons such as BB guns and pepper spray are included in police figures, alongside shotguns, handguns and rifles.

However, with the data excluding crimes involving air weapons, the true number may be higher.

It means there were 12 firearms offences per 100,000 population in Essex slightly more than the national average of 11.