CRACKDOWN: An unregistered air rifle seized by Warwick police during a state-wide blitz.
CRACKDOWN: An unregistered air rifle seized by Warwick police during a state-wide blitz. Elyse Wurm

Four rifles, chainsaw stolen on Southern Downs

HOME owners were away on holidays when four rifles, a chainsaw, tools and a computer were swiped from their unoccupied Inglewood house.

It was rare act of gun theft committed on the Southern Downs during a year when the crime is at its lowest rate in four years.

Detective Sergeant Darren Tamblyn from the Warwick Criminal Investigation Branch said the perpetrator found the key to the safe where the rifles were being stored earlier this month.

"If anyone's got firearms in the house, they've got to hide the key as well,” Sgt Tamblyn said.

"If you get broken into, they fetch the key and can get the firearms.

"It makes it easier for people to steal the firearms and then they're on the street.”

Sgt Tamblyn said gun theft was uncommon around Warwick but when it did occur it was often because owners had not secured their property properly.

Leaving the weapons with an armourer whilst away on holidays was a great idea, Sgt Tamblyn said.

"The more precautions people take, the hard it is (for thieves),” he said.

Last year gun theft in Queensland was at its lowest rate in four years, with 581 firearms stolen in 2017 compared to 777 in 2016 and 614 in 2015.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said despite the decline, police had not lessened their efforts to crack down on gun thefts.

"The QPS has a dedicated firearms investigation unit which exists within State Crime Command and they have undertaken a number of proactive and reactive strategies in response to the illegal firearm trade,” he said.

Sgt Tamblyn said police throughout Queensland were cracking down on firearm crime for the month of February.

One person has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and an unregistered air rifle was also seized earlier this month.

The blitz is also targeting residents who hold a weapons licence but are not following the rules.

Sgt Tamblyn said regulations were enforced for a range of weapons including BB guns and rifles.

"Licensed people with firearms can have inspections at any time, it's ongoing,” he said.

Since starting on February 1, there have been 869 weapons seized throughout Queensland during the operation.