Explosive experts have destroyed a leaking, highly explosive mortar on display in a Whakatane club.

Police are warning the public to be careful collecting war memorabilia after a number of military items on public show were found to be unsafe, putting lives at risk.

Whakatane police were called on Wednesday after a mortar started leaking.

The New Zealand Defence Force explosive ordnance disposal team was called in and found the mortar was still highly explosive.

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All the potentially dangerous weapons were destroyed by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

Police said all the potentially lethal items were memorabilia but no one had been able to confirm if they were safe to have on display.

They urged collectors to always check with a professional.