THE spate of gun thefts across the south-west in the past two years has been linked to the crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Bikies are believed to be re-arming themselves after police confiscated firearms from gun owners affiliated with the gangs.
Information received by The Standard is that guns being stolen from rural properties across the south-west are suspected of being on-sold to bikies — with bikies paying $1000 a firearm.
Warrnambool police district firearms officer Senior Constable Michael Gloury said rumours that stolen guns could be going to bikie gangs was pure speculation.
“The theory would be that because of the success of the police squads in Melbourne confiscating guns that those guns have to be replaced,” he said.
“The guns being stolen here could be going to the Russian mafia for all we know, it’s just pure speculation.”
Police have long been concerned about the boom in gun thefts across the south-west which has spiked during the past two years.
Late last year there were three burglaries related to firearms in the Portland area — a shotgun was stolen from Gorae, a .22 rifle from a vehicle in Dutton Way and a gun safe at a Bentinck Street property was emptied by intruders.
Three shotguns, two rifles, two air rifles, ammunition and a chainsaw with an estimated total value of $7000 were stolen in that heist. In the past couple of weeks there have been four gun-related burglaries in the Corangamite region with a number of firearms stolen.
“The rise in the number of thefts is a significant and worrying trend,” Senior Constable Gloury said.