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Illegal firearms in police sights

Tuesday, 17th June, 2014

Detective Matt Scott says BH police have seized a number of unregistered firearms in the last year. Detective Matt Scott says BH police have seized a number of unregistered firearms in the last year.

By Nick Gibbs

By Nick Gibbs

Broken Hill residents have been offered the protection of anonymity as local police join Operation Unification, a nationwide blitz on illegal firearms.

Inspector Matt Scott said the unlawful possession of firearms was a problem everywhere and he welcomed information from the public that would lead to their recovery.

"Anybody with information relating to the unlawful procession of illegal firearms should contact the Unification hotline through Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or the Broken Hill Police Station," he said.

"They can do so anonymously."

\While NSW Police reported a rise in the number of crudely made or modified weapons, Inspector Scott said in Broken Hill it was mainly unlicensed or stolen firearm being seized.

"We've recovered a number of unregistered guns in the last 12 months," he said.

In March this year Victorian Police raided a house in Cardross and seized seven firearms, some of which were stolen from a Duff Street, Broken Hill home in 2012.

Six rifles and a shotgun also disappeared from a Tuart Street home in August 2013 and three rifles were snatched from a Hebbard Street house in the same month.

In the 2013/2014 financial year, 8992 firearms had been seized or surrendered to NSW Police but Acting State Crime Commander, John Kerlatec, said even more could be taken out of circulation with the public's help.

"We have been extremely busy locating and seizing illegal weapons in the past few years," he said.

"Imagine how much more successful we could be if the community got behind this initiative and told us where to find the guns."

Operation Unification Commander Michael Plotecki said just one phone call was often all it took.

"It is often the case that a simple phone call from the public will lead to bigger breakthroughs in the fight against crime," he said.

"If you know where such weapons are, please pick up the phone and let us do the rest."

Gun Control Australia spokeswoman Sam Lee said most illegal guns in Australia come from legal dealers.

"Quite high numbers of firearms are going into the black market through rogue dealers," she told AAP.

Last month the Australian Ballistics Information Network (ABIN) opened which lets states and territories enter details of a firearm or bullet to see if it is linked to other crimes.- BDT/AAP

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