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Stolen firearms at centre of police operation DRIFT

In the 12 months to June this year, 311 firearms were stolen, 45 of which were recovered.
In the 12 months to June this year, 311 firearms were stolen, 45 of which were recovered. Daniel Harkin

THERE are currently more than 250 stolen firearms unaccounted for on the region's streets.

They are the target of Project Drift, District Reviews into Firearm Thefts, a police awareness campaign dedicated to recovering firearms stolen from homes and businesses in the southern policing region.

In the 12 months to June this year, 311 firearms were stolen, 45 of which were recovered.

Ipswich District Inspector Keith McDonald said the police campaign encouraged the community to contact Crime Stoppers with information on stolen firearms.

He said rewards of up to $1000 were on the table in exchange for information which led to a conviction.

"There have been a high number of weapons stolen and only a small number recovered, that's obviously the big issue, that somebody out there knows something," Insp McDonald said.

"Every gun we take off the street is certainly one less weapon that can be used to commit violent offences.

"We're hoping people come forward with little pieces of information we can tie the jigsaw together with."

Insp McDonald said there were no links to firearm thefts for the purpose of reselling.

"It's evidence low, they are probably the choice at the moment but there are a number of avenues of enquiry currently ongoing," he said.

He said the above average rate of firearm thefts led to an increase in police checking licence holders were complying with the legislation but no significant breaches had been found.

"Most firearm licence holders are very, very responsible, there have been only minor breaches certainty nothing on a large scale case," Insp McDonald said.

"99.9% always comply with the legislation but that doesn't stop people breaking into homes to obtain firearms.

"Gun owners in Australia are responsible people, if they commit a significant breach they place their whole ability to hold a licence at risk.

"Some offenders are fortuitous but some clearly have been hitting country properties that they know are going to have a weapon stored inside and they strike at an opportunistic time when the home owner isn't home."

Ipswich Police District District Officer Superintendent Charysse Pond said the campaign was about getting illegal firearms off the streets and making the community safer.

"We are encouraging people to report illegal firearms by calling Crime Stoppers,' Supt Pond said.

"There are people in the community who would have knowledge about illegal firearms.

"If you don't want to talk to the police you can remain anonymous and report through Crime Stoppers."

Topics:  firearm thefts, ipswich, ipswich crime



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