Crooks raid­ing ru­ral prop­er­ties for firearms

Daily Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - MADURA MCCOR­MACK Madura.McCor­mack@dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

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.

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