POLICE are launching a week-long knife amnesty to encourage those in possession of knives to surrender them anonymously.

From Monday, knife bins will be located at police stations across Durham Police force's area, into which people can deposit weapons, ornamental knives, or bladed articles they no longer have any use for.

The national Operation Sceptre campaign aims to reduce the number of bladed articles that might otherwise be used in crime.

Acting Inspector Andy Boyd said: “Knife crime has the potential to devastate the lives of victims and their families, and although County Durham and Darlington have the lowest level of knife crime in the country, we remain committed to protecting our communities.

“Our aim is to tackle high-harm offences by shining a spotlight on the dangers of knife crimes, and by reducing the opportunity for them to take place.”

The bins will be at police stations in Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Durham City and Peterlee, but knives can be surrendered at any station across the county. Those who cannot attend a station but wish to surrender an item should make alternative arrangements by calling 101.

Although the amnesty is strictly anonymous, police say it is not a means to dispose of weapons used in crime, and any knife suspected of having been used unlawfully will be investigated.