POLICE have urged anyone who owns a "gel blaster" to surrender it, as they warn of a proliferation of the illegal imitation weapon.
It comes as they warn firearms owners of the importance of safe storage of their guns.
Bendigo District Firearms Officer Leading Senior Constable Mark Wilkinson said anyone who owned a gel blaster should turn it in for destruction, as they were illegal under Victorian law.
Leading Senior Constable Wilkinson said police had seen a growing number of the devices, which are often designed to look like a real firearm.
Imitation firearms are considered prohibited weapons under Victorian law.
Gel blasters use compressed air to fire a projectile.
Leading Senior Constable Wilkinson said police were also calling on firearms owners to make sure they stored their guns securely.
He said firearms thefts were an ongoing issue on rural properties throughout Victoria.
Leading Senior Constable Wilkinson said these were at risk, because criminals went to steal motorbikes or tools, and would notice a gun safe.
"They don't target people to go steal their guns per se. But they get stolen because criminals are criminals," he said.
Leading Senior Constable Wilkinson said any firearms stolen would fall into the hands of criminals, because they had been stolen by criminals.
"The vast majority have been sawn off, cut down, turned into handguns, which crooks use for nefarious purposes," he said.
Leading Senior Constable Wilkinson urged people to take care to prevent gun theft, saying anyone who owned firearms was legally responsible for their safe storage.
He said police advocated firearms owners buy a safe, as they were harder to break into than the minimum legal requirement of a hard wood or steel receptacle.
Firearms should also be stored at an occupied premises, rather than a holiday house or rural property, left empty for months on end, he said.
Leading Senior Constable Wilkinson also urged those on rural properties to keep their sheds locked at all times, as they were an easy target for offenders.
Police also advised firearms owners to avoid storing firearms in their vehicle, make sure their safe was out of sight of doors and windows, and make sure they only took them out of the safe immediately before use.
They also urged anyone going away to consider having their firearms stored by a licensed firearms dealer.
Leading Senior Constable Wilkinson said firearms owners largely did the right thing when it came to storage. But he warned they could face fines or prosecution if they were found not to be keeping their firearms properly secured.
Leading Senior Constable said common storage mistakes included keeping keys to the gun safe, or tools which could be used to break into the safe, in the same shed as the firearms were stored. He said officers even found a pair of bolt cutters leaning up against a firearm receptacle in one snap storage inspection.
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