Police are appealing for anyone who may have information about a shotgun which was found in Wellingborough to come forward.
A 12-year-old boy found the shotgun and cartridges in a wooded area of Queensway Park, on the evening of Sunday, July 8, sometime between 6pm and 9pm.
The boy decided to leave the gun where it was and return home to tell his parents.
On his way out of the park he bumped into a group of older teenagers and told them what he’d found.
They reassured him that they would help and took the gun away from the area.
The 12-year-old returned home and told his parents and police were called.
A thorough search of the area took place by specialist search officers but the older teenagers had left the area, taking the firearm with them.
The group of five is described as four white boys aged between 15 and 16 and one black boy aged about 16 to 17 years.
They made off in the direction of Olympic Way.
Detective Inspector Emma Nealon from the Serious and Organised Crime Team said: “I am appealing for the teenagers who made off with the gun to contact us so we can safely take it off their hands.
“Firearms can be lethal and what may have seemed like a good idea at the time could lead to serious consequences if the gun ends up in the wrong hands.
“We would also like to speak to anyone who may have seen the group in or around Queensway Park on the evening of Sunday, July 8.”
Last week Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Viper, a crackdown on those people involved in gang-related activity, including those people who use illegal firearms.
DI Nealon added: “We know incidents such as this cause concern for local people, and I would like to offer my reassurance that we are conducting a thorough investigation to not only find the gun but to establish who left it in the park in the first place.
“We are committed to robustly tackling those people involved in gang-related activity and would like to speak to anyone who has any information about individuals they believe are involved in drugs or violence offences.
“We are also able to offer support and advice to anyone who has concerns about a young person who they think may be getting drawn into a gang.”
Anyone with information about this incident, or who would like to report concerns about gangs, can call police on 101, complete this online form or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.