Spate of stolen firearms a growing concern

FIVE firearms stolen from a Grafton address have brought the total number of guns stolen from the Clarence Valley in the past six months to 18.

The registered firearms, including a Winchester .22 calibre rifle, a Weatherby Mk22 Sporter rifle, a Browning 17 bolt action rifle, a Harrington single-barrel shotgun and a Tikka T3 204 rifle, were stolen from a safe during a break and enter into a house on Turf St over the weekend.

Police say it happened between 9pm on Saturday and 5.30pm on Sunday.

It is the latest incident in what could be called a spate of firearm thefts across the Clarence Valley, with at least three other houses subjected to the loss of registered firearms since late December.

In all but one instance the gun safes had been forced open.

Committee member of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia's Grafton branch, Don Parsons, said the NSW Firearms Registry had firm guidelines in regards to gun storage to ensure personal safes were not easily penetrable, but noted gun owners should be more careful about advertising their movements if they stored firearms at home.

"I spoke to a policeman recently who said a lot of people use social media to record when they're going away, but if you have firearms it creates an opportunity," he said.

"Let (your neighbours or someone trusted) know when you're going to be away and ask them to keep an eye out. None of us wants our guns stolen, and we are trying to do the right thing."

Earlier this month, Coffs/Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson acknowledged there was concern about the stolen firearms, and said police would continue to investigate each matter as thoroughly as all other break and enters in the area.

Officers are continuing their inquiries and have appealed for anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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