A WEAPONS amnesty launched in a bid to cut violent crime in Blackburn has been hailed a success by police chiefs.

More than 50 knives and other weapons were put in town centre storage bins during the scheme, which has been running for three months.

People were urged to hand in any offensive weapons which police say included knives, knuckle dusters and baseball bats.

Secure storage containers, provided by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, were placed at strategic locations in the town centre, one on King William Street under the clock tower and the other at the junction of Ainsworth Street and Salford opposite the Pitchers pub.

Inspector Judith Finney, the officer in charge of the town centre, said it was the first time storage containers had been used. Some members of the public were reluctant to hand in offensive weapons at the police station.

During the amnesty people could take weapons to the containers without the risk of prosecution.

Insp Finney said: "We were very pleased with the results of the scheme as quite a number of bladed weapons were handed in as well as a number of bottles and other weapons.

"We are pleased because these weapons have not been used and have now been taken off the streets."

The storage bins were monitored by close circuit television cameras to ensure they were not tampered with.

Police stressed that this was a precaution to prevent thefts from the bins and would not be used to catch those depositing items. The amnesty was part of a three-year crackdown on town centre violence launched by officers earlier this year. Safer Streets will look at what can be done to make Blackburn town centre safer at night. Police are asking anybody with information regarding people who carry offensive weapons to contact them in confidence at Crime- stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Inspector Finney added: "Violent crime is a major problem in all town centres and removing the risk of serious injury is a sensible step in the right direction."