A SHOTGUN and four carloads of stolen goods have been recovered in raids by Warrnambool undercover police.
Acting Detective Sergeant Cameron Ross, of the Warrnambool police divisional response unit, said raids at Bookaar and Glenormiston resulted in three dairy farm workers being arrested and charged with burglaries, dishonesty offences and one with firearms matters.
The men aged between 23 and their early 30s have been bailed to appear in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court in May.
"We received some information about stolen goods and possibly a firearm and what finished up being a drive to check things out finished up as a 13-hour shift," he said.
Acting Detective Sergeant Ross said officers obtained a warrant and arrested one man driving a Commodore.
That vehicle was loaded with items suspected of being stolen including a Country Fire Authority lieutenant's hat stolen from The Sisters brigade and a range of tools.
Soon after a second man was arrested and about a dozen jerry cans and other tools were located.
"All up we finished with four car loads of property," he said.
"Both men were taken back to the Camperdown police station where they were processed. We then got a call from the dairy owner wondering what was going on.
"The arrested men were dairy workers and extra staff had to be called in."
Acting Detective Sergeant Ross said further investigations led to the recovery of more stolen goods and a 12 gauge under and over shotgun taken from a Glenormiston address in 2012.
"Another dairy farm worker was also arrested and charged. He was charged with firearm offences as well as the burglaries and handling stolen goods," he said.
"What started as a warrant just kept going and going until we recovered about 90 per cent of property stolen from burglaries at The Sisters, Bookaar dairy farms and a range of tools stolen from a Darlington Road church being renovated.
"We were very concerned about the firearm so to locate that after persistent efforts by the investigators was very pleasing," he said.