Guns stolen from Navy Cadets
TWO men have been remanded in custody following the theft of firearms and uniforms from a storage container belonging to the Whitsunday Navy Cadets.
Tiron Ardin Ferguson, 39, and Timothy Paul Jozef Lever, 35, were both brought to Monday’s sitting of the Proserpine Magistrate’s Court under police guard.
Both men have been charged with entering a premises and committing an indictable offence and the unlawful possession of weapons.
Ferguson is facing further charges of possessing and supplying dangerous drugs.
The container was initially broken into some time between September 11-19, when Navy Cadet uniforms were stolen.
Officer in Charge of the Whitsunday Police Station, Acting Senior Sergeant Brad Teys, said the container was re-secured but at 10.55pm on September 23, police received a call from security guards advising of a second break-in.
Act. Snr Sgt Teys said investigations revealed that on this occasion a firearm safe, containing six bolt-action rifles and magazines had been stolen.
Police immediately accessed CCTV footage, which showed two people and a small hatchback leaving the scene and heading towards Airlie Beach. They then reviewed footage from other CCTV cameras in the area and were consequently able to distribute images of a suspect seen getting out of the car.
On the afternoon of September 24, a member of the public reported seeing the car on Shute Harbour Road, Cannonvale, near Centro. Act. Snr Sgt Teys said as a result of this, police were able to intercept the car and detain both suspects. He said seven bags, each containing 0.1g of methyl amphetamine were also found in the car.
After executing several search warrants, police were able to recover all of the stolen items with the exception of one .22 calibre rifle, which Act. Snr Sgt Teys said he was confident would now also be found.
In court on Monday, Ferguson made an application for bail but this was objected to by police prosecutor Elizabeth Smith, who said that on the weapons act offences, mandatory periods of imprisonment may apply.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said it was also particularly disturbing that the weapons were stolen “all in the atmosphere of drugs”.
Bail was formally refused, with both men to remain behind bars until their next court appearances on October 20. Ferguson entered a plea of guilty to the charge of supplying drugs, which was committed to the Mackay District Court for sentence at a date to be advised by the Department of Police Prosecution (DPP).
Meanwhile, Act Snr Sgt Teys said the incident had raised some issues which were now being addressed by police and the Australian Defence Force. He said he would support and assist the Whitsunday Navy Cadets with endeavours to find a secure compound that would allow them to perform their exercises and training “and continue with this important project”.