A LOCAL farmer did not report the theft of firearms from his property because he thought his estranged brother had taken them, Warrnambool Magistrates Court has been told.
Magistrate Ann McGarvie placed David Coolahan, 65, of The Sisters, on a six-month good-behaviour bond after he pleaded guilty to not storing firearms correctly.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Paul Harris said police had searched Coolahan’s house after a firearm registered to him had been found at Portland.
Coolahan had six firearms registered to him but had said all his firearms had been stolen on different occasions.
The locker in which Coolahan had stored the firearms was unsecured and none of the thefts had been reported to police, Senior Constable Harris said.
Ara Blaker, for Coolahan, said Coolahan had thought his brother had taken the guns, which was why he had not notified police they had gone missing.
Ms Blaker said Coolahan’s brother was part-owner of the farm but the brothers had little interaction.
Ms McGarvie said the missing guns were likely to have got into criminals’ hands and used for armed robberies and to kill people.
“It’s very important if guns are missing to find out where they are,” Ms McGarvie said.
She also said it was important that gun owners store their guns in a gun safe.
Ms McGarvie said if Coolahan had not breached the good behaviour bond by November 17 this year, she would dismiss the charges against him.