Weapons stolen from safe
IPSWICH detectives said a collection of high-powered rifles, a double-barrelled shotgun and 500 rounds of ammunition could have ended up in the wrong hands if not for a quick-thinking member of the public.
In just one of a series of rural crimes reported in the Ipswich district this year, the firearms were stolen from the gun safe of a farmer at Milbong, 40km south of Ipswich, on Tuesday morning.
While the owner was at work and oblivious to the crime, a person who saw a suspicious vehicle reported the registration number to police, who were able to track down the alleged offender and the guns the next day.
Two .30 calibre rifles, a .243, a .22, a shotgun and the ammunition were returned to the licensed landholder yesterday.
A 40-year-old Churchill man has been charged with burglary and will appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court on March 17.
Detective Senior Constable Kris Steadman said police feared the guns could have ended up for sale on the streets before they made the arrest.
“These guns have the potential to cause a lot of damage so it is good that they are back where they belong,” he said.
The firearms, all licensed, are used for controlling feral animals. Police also recovered a small generator and a refrigerator that were taken. The stolen property was valued about $7500.
Tens of thousands of dollars worth of machinery and tools have been reported stolen from rural properties throughout the district in recent months.
Police from the Ipswich Criminal Investigation Branch and the Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad have dedicated Operation Basin to tracking down the thieves who have hit scores of properties.
The operation began in December last year and police recently charged a man with eight break-and-enter offences committed on rural properties, after allegedly finding stolen property at his house.
Detective Senior Sergeant Mick Trezise said investigating rural crime was made more difficult because of the distances involved.
Property owners have been encouraged to secure farm sheds overnight and while they are away.