MORE than 400 knives and two guns have been removed from the streets after being deposited in a weapons amnesty bin.

Machetes, handmade daggers and a foot-long meat cleaver were among the 421 knives emptied from the bin outside Colchester police station this morning.

Two BB guns, including a handgun, were also found in the bin, along with a rifle bayonet.

Several knives also had notes attached to say which road they had been found in.

The amnesty bin was installed by Only Cowards Carry weapons awareness charity, headed by Caroline Shearer, whose 17-year-old son, Jay Whiston, was fatally stabbed in Colchester in 2012.

Mrs Shearer, whose charity is based in Clacton, said: “This is really good news - people said this wouldn’t work outside a police station but it just goes to show how many knives we get on a regular basis.

“A lot have been handed in from the courts where people have tried to smuggle them in, some are handmade out of metal piping.

“Real or not real, the guns are very heavy and if someone stuck it in your face you wouldn’t know the difference.

“The exercise just proves people are becoming aware and handing in anything they might find.”

As well larger knives, people can also drop normal kitchen knives into the bin as a safe way to dispose of them.

Michael Lee, community safety partnership officer, joined the charity representatives in sifting through the surrendered weapons.

He said: “I’m amazed every time we empty the knives bin but happy it’s being used.

“The guns were only BB guns, however just the look of them would cause someone to feel alarmed if they were used in public.

“The work they do at Only Cowards Carry is excellent.”

The charity is set to install another knife bin in Vineyard Street car park next month, to provide a more accessible bin for people in the town centre.

Mrs Shearer said: “We were asked by so many people to have another bin in town and it is obviously needed.”