Bendigo tops weapon amnesty

Bendigo had more weapons returned than any other region during a Victoria Police amnesty.

One hundred and sixty-four weapons were surrendered to police in the past two months, nearly double the next largest haul in Warrnambool.

Divisional firearms officer Leading Senior Constable Len Igoe said coming in on top of the table was a win for Bendigo.

“I do view it as a win because these are all guns that are now off our streets,” he said.

Leading Senior Constable Igoe said 90 per cent of the weapons handed in were unregistered firarms, and the bulk of those were longarms, specifically 12-gauge shotguns and 0.22-calibre rifles.

“A number of handguns were handed in as well including rifles and shotguns that have been sawn off in a way that classifies them as handguns,” he said.

After the weapons are collected they are taken to Melbourne where police witness them being crushed, then sealed in a container and taken away to be melted down.

The recent haul is an increase on numbers collected during the last Victoria Police weapons amnesty in 2010.

But Leading Senior Constable Igoe said the amount of swords and knives received had decreased.

“That could be a good thing because maybe these type of weapons aren’t out on the street as much as they used to be,” he said.

Leading Senior Constable Igoe said it was common for weapons to be surrendered by relatives of deceased owners.

“We have several where they are cleaning out granddad’s shed when he’s died and it’s just been sitting there ever since cause they don’t know what to do with it,” he said.

“People get a bit frightened, they don’t want to get into trouble, but that’s what an amnesty’s all about – they can hand these weapons in without consequence.”

Leading Senior Constable Igoe said he was always available to help with the disposal of weapons.

Divisional firearms officers can be contacted at the Bendigo police station on 5448 1300. 

The penalty for carrying an illegal weapon is up to two years’ imprisonment, or up to 10 years for firearms offences.

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