A banned Terang harness racing trainer who owes almost $1 million for horses was found with a loaded sawn-off shotgun in his home.
Timothy McLean, 28, of Spring Dam Road, unsuccessfully applied for bail in the Geelong Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon.
His case was adjourned until April 4 when other charges, including firearm and alleged drug offences, will be brought forward to that date.
Mr McLean was charged late Monday with possessing an unregistered handgun, theft of motor vehicle, committing a serious offence while on bail, possessing ammunition without a licence, possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing a drug of dependence.
Detective Senior Constable Ross Hatton, of the Warrnambool police divisional tasking unit, told the court that at 8.40am Monday DTU, Warrnambool crime investigation unit and Terang police officers executed a warrant at a Spring Dam Road address at Terang.
The court was told that In a black case in Mr McLean's bedroom they found shotgun shells and .22 calibre ammunition.
Mr McLean does not have a gun licence.
On a bedside table there were three prescription seroquel tablets Mr McLean said helped him sleep.
The detective said a 2021 Mazda BT50 utility was in the driveway that had previously been reported stolen.
Mr McLean told police he had swapped his vehicle and $10,000 for the ute after a deal with a seller on Facebook.
An extendable baton was found in a lounge room couch as well as a loaded sawn-off shotgun, which had the barrel and stock cut off, he told the court.
Mr McLean is alleged to have told police it was his father's gun and the last time he saw the firearm it was not modified.
Detective Senior Constable Hatton said Mr McLean made no admissions and claimed people were constantly setting him up and wanted him to go to jail.
The accused man also claimed those people had changed the VIN number and compliant plates on the ute.
The detective said Mr McLean claimed people were standing over him and others were attending his address at night and firing shots.
He said that on November 1 last year police executed a warrant at the same address and found a number of firearms, methamphetamine and 40 small cannabis plants, which led to Mr McLean being charged and placed on bail.
He said Mr McLean's father Jeff and the accused man's former girlfriend were worried about his erratic behaviour.
"He owes considerable debts in relation to harness racing and had some horses removed as a result of that on Monday," he said.
"His father and ex-partner are extremely worried and also told us he was undergoing treatment for cancer.
"His father is also worried about the people visiting the property and who his son is involved with at the moment."
Detective Senior Constable Hatton said county court records showed Mr McLean owed harness racing company Australian Pacing Gold $993,755.43, according to a February 18 order.
He said Mr McLean's racing licence had been suspended for 13 months which impacted his earning capacity.
"He owns McLean Racing and there are still about 30 horses at the property after 14 horses were removed from his care on Monday as a result of this debt," he said.
The detective said police were concerned that Mr McLean continued to use methamphetamine and forensic investigations into the sawn-off loaded shotgun and stolen ute were ongoing.
"We are concerned because of the amount of debt owed and his capacity to earn, that he may fall into trafficking drugs and further offending," he said.
Mr McLean said he was trying to get his life back on track and he had a mental healthcare plan in place.
"I don't want to go down this road. I honestly want to get my life back on track," he said.
"I was disqualified, put out of harness racing and that made life a bit tough. I'm having treatment for cancer but I've stopped that as I need to look after my horses and be at home."
Mr McLean said he had tumours in his body - his back and chest.
Magistrate Peter Mellas said Mr McLean had no prior criminal history, but had health, financial and mental health issues.
He said his property had now twice been the subject of police search warrants and on each occasion firearms, stolen property and drugs were found.
"Significant concerns have been raised by what has happened," he said.
The magistrate listed custody management issues as withdrawal from drug use and mental health and he requested a medical review.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.