Cameras that look like guns could be rendered worthless to collectors from next month under new legislation which outlaws the sale of ?realistic imitation firearms?.

The ban forms part of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill which is currently going through Parliament and expected to become law from October.

The law will also make it an offence to manufacture realistic imitation firearms or import them into Great Britain.

The Home Office confirmed to AP that realistic replica gun cameras could fall under the incoming legislation. A spokesperson told us that although there will be some exemptions ? covering the ?legitimate use? of realistic imitation firearms ? the government has not yet decided what constitutes ?legitimate use?.

The Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain (PCCGB) is set to alert its 1200 members about the imminent legislation. And auction house Christie?s may lobby the government over the matter. Michael Pritchard, director of photographic auctions at Christie?s, said: ?We are concerned about the legislation and will be looking to make some representations in relation to some of the collectible items which we handle.?

Pritchard said it is not clear from the wording of the bill whether replica gun cameras fall under the definition of ?realistic imitation firearm?.

Among those incensed by the move is camera collector Max Sarche who owns a camera styled on the Lewis gun used on First World War fighter planes (similar to the Eastman gun camera pictured above). He points out that people don?t realise that such kit ? which is expensive to collect ? will be rendered worthless when the legislation takes effect in a few weeks. ?It?s going to criminalise of lot of people,? he added.

? For details and more reaction to this story see this week?s issue of AP, in shops tomorrow

Picture credit: George Eastman House