A gun was seized after police stormed a Merseyside warehouse during an early morning raid.
Detectives will now try and establish whether the "revolver-style weapon" has been used in any shootings or other crimes.
The firearm was found after police raided a warehouse unit in Park Lane West in Netherton just after midight on Monday.
Confirming the weapon discovery, police said enquiries will continue "in order to find out if it has been used before, and to whom it belongs."
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A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: "Officers recovered a suspected firearm while executing a search warrant yesterday morning, Monday 22 March.
"At around 12.20am, a search within a warehouse unit on Park Lane West recovered the revolver-style weapon, which has been forensically recovered.
"Enquiries are being carried out to examine the suspected firearm and establish whether it is linked to any previous incidents."
The operation was hailed by Sefton Targeted Policing Inspector Ray Mavrakakis.
He said: "Removing this potential weapon will make the streets of Bootle a much safer place to be.
"The suspected firearm has been recovered and our enquiries will continue in order to find out if it has been used before, and to whom it belongs.
“We’re absolutely committed to tackling those involved in all serious organised crime, including gun crime, and we have dedicated significant resources into taking weapons and offenders off our streets."
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He added: “Information from those communities affected makes a big difference, so if you know where dangerous weapons are being stored, carried or used, let us know and we will take positive action.”
Always call 999 if a crime is in progress, or pass information via @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.