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Police re-issue firearms security warning following theft

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Waikato Police say a recent burglary of a Coromandel home in which several firearms were taken offers a timely reminder to gun owners to review their security and ensure they update it if necessary.

District Arms Officer, Richard Plas, said the call comes following a break-in at an Opoutere home in which eight firearms of varying manufacture were taken.

"This wasn't a case of the firearms being kept unsecured; they were locked into a wooden gun cabinet which had been approved in 2006. However, as time goes by, it has become increasingly obvious to Police that wooden gun cabinets are not always that effective in defeating thieves.

"With the price of metal gun safes falling considerably over recent years, Police are asking gun owners to consider upgrading their security to steel gun safes bolted in place. It's not just about protecting your investments but also about keeping the community safe."

Mr Plas said generally speaking, a person's security should be able to defeat an attack by thieves with common hand-tools such as hammers, screwdrivers or crowbars for a period of up to 10 minutes.

"If you own firearms and think that your security might not be strong enough, do something about it, this can include installing extra locks, an alarm system or installing a steel gun-safe.

"Among the firearms taken were a wooden, cut down sporting stock .303 rifle, a 12 gauge side-by-side 'Liege' (made in Belgium) shotgun, with side-hammers more than 100 years old with a wooden stock and engraving of birds in flight on the sides."

Other firearms taken included a wooden stock 20 gauge single barrel 'Optima' (made in Turkey), shotgun, serial #13456 and a .22 calibre Savage bolt action rifle with a black plastic stock, 10 shot magazine, laser and telescopic sight.

"Another thing firearms owners can do is record photos and serial numbers of their firearms on property databases such as that available on the Op SNAP website, (www.snap.org.nz). That way owners can provide accurate descriptions of their valuables to Police if they are stolen and Police can identify if a person found with the firearm at a later date owns it or not.

"Last year we highlighted the issue of firearms left unsecured and stolen in rural burglaries under the banner of "Lock em or Lose em" and we would like to reiterate the importance of firearms security."

Mr Plas said Police would like to remind owners that it is a legal requirement to advise them of any stolen firearms, and it is also a legal requirement to advise Police of their change of address.

"All too often, guns are stolen from gun-owners who haven't notified a change of address and consequently kept their firearms in sub-standard security. With Police increasingly finding offenders involved in the illicit drugs trade arming themselves with illegally obtained firearms, owners need to realise establishing origins of recovered weapons becomes a matter of priority for our investigators."

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