AN ACCUSED drug trafficker and thief says $35,000 of ice and cannabis found at his Elphinstone property belonged to a friend, a court has heard.
Police searched 43-year-old Raymond Schembri’s home on March 19 and allegedly uncovered drugs, cash, tens-of-thousands of dollars of stolen goods, a gun and two knifes.
Schembri had blamed his girlfriend for the drugs but now says they belonged to a friend, the Bendigo Magistrates Court heard Tuesday.
Police allege 16 victims had come forward as owners of the stolen goods, with further enquiries pending.
Informant Senior Constable Dan O’Bree said Schembri had stolen property from areas including Goornong, Echuca, Deer Park, Toolen and Axedale.
In one case, Schembri allegedly stole an elderly couple’s Maltese dog.
“The victims ... stated that the dog was like a child to them and they both suffered with severe anxiety and health issues from the loss of their dog,” senior Constable O’Bree said.
“The dog was used as a breeding bitch by the accused.”
The court heard police seized two large shopping bags containing about a kilogram of marijuana, and several bags containing 27 grams of methamphetamine from the Government Road property.
Stolen items including 10 motorbikes, 17 small engine items, six trailers, 90 hay bales and 80 cattle yard panels and ramps were also recovered, the court heard.
Schembri, who was on bail with $100,000 surety for similar matters when arrested, applied for bail.
Defence barrister Gideon Boas said Schembri, who cried in the dock during proceedings, was a father of four who had been attacked while on remand. Schembri said he had receipts for the items, the court heard.
His partner Amy Saw told the court she suffered anxiety and needed Schembri for support.
He was granted bail to reappear in court on June 12.
He must report to police and has a night curfew.