NEW Forest residents are being urged to hand in any unwanted or illegally-help weapons as part of a national crackdown on gun crime.

Hampshire Constabulary are staging a firearms amnesty as part of a two-week “surrender of firearms and ammunition” which starts next Saturday.

One of the campaign’s main aims is to cut the number of weapons which could fall into the hands of criminals.

But recent changes in legislation mean people who own souvenir, replica or antique firearms can fall foul of the law without realising it.

A police spokesman said: “Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes.

“Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to threaten or harm their local communities. The surrender gives the opportunity to dispose of a firearm or ammunition by simply taking it to a local designated police station and handing it in.

“During the campaign period, those handing over firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession – at the point of surrender – and can remain anonymous.”