LOCK UP YOUR GUNS
Crooks raiding rural properties for firearms
EXCLUSIVE: Firearm owners are being asked to rethink the security and location of their gun safes after raids by Mackay’s newest tactical crime team located an array of weapons.
Detective Inspector Brendan Smith said stolen weapons located during police raids are largely being taken from gun safes in rural properties.
“We are a trusting society in the Mackay district. Quite often the gun safe will be in the farm shed,” he said.
“And often the shed will have tools that can used to access the safe ... people need to think about the location of their gun safe, and it should be separated from ammunition and things like that.
“Offenders know that in a rural environment, that most rural environments will have guns for farm work, so they target that as well.”
Det Insp Smith’s comments come after the Tactical Operations Team, a crew of multidisciplinary officers in Mackay that target drug and firearm related crime, seized a variety of weapons during the last six months of operations.
Tactical Operations Team personnel have found rifles, knuckledusters, and conductive energy weapons, better known as tasers.
Det Insp Smith said two stolen firearms located during a search warrant at the end of last month were traced back to burglaries in Sarina in June.
“I must say since some of these offenders are now in custody that has dropped right off,” Det Insp Smith said.
“(It’s) Concerning though, we are still finding shortened firearms ... there’s no lawful reason to have a shortened rifle.”
The Tactical Operations Team, modelled after anti-bikie Taskforce Maxima, has also seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs and cash, including $70,000 worth of methamphetamines (ice). There have been 226 Weapons Act offences in the Mackay Police district so far this year, according to Queensland Police statistics.