A Woolsthorpe man has been arrested after a police raid at two south-west properties allegedly uncovered a stash of illegal firearms and mature cannabis plants.
Stephen Schefferle, 48, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with drug and weapon offences, including cultivating a narcotic plant, trafficking cannabis, and possessing a traffickable quantity of unregistered firearms, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.
The court heard he was arrested on Tuesday following a raid at properties in Winslow's Caramut Road and Woolsthorpe's Porter Street about 9am.
Warrnambool police Senior Constable Bevan Marr told the court investigators from the Warrnambool divisional tasking team and Hamilton police crime investigation unit attended the properties but Mr Schefferle was not located. A phone call was made and Mr Schefferle agreed to meet at a location in order to be arrested. He allegedly advised police of about 180 grams of cannabis in the shed of his property.
A search of the Winslow property allegedly uncovered a .31 calibre pistol, a Colt automatic pistol, a .22 calibre rifle, a break action shotgun, and multiple boxes of ammunition.
Senior Constable Marr said a further search of the residence located a room hidden behind a false wall of a large garage. He said inside that space police found 17 large mature cannabis plants and 14 plastic containers with dried cannabis bud.
Additional cannabis was allegedly found scattered throughout the property.
The total weight of the cannabis was 28 kilograms.
Police also seized $2280 cash, as well as Mr Schefferle's phone. Senior Constable Marr said the owner of the Winslow property was not arrested during the raid due to her age.
During a police interview, the man allegedly admitted to possessing cannabis at his Woolsthorpe property before making a no comment interview. Ingrid Perez, representing the accused, said all of the seized firearms were antique and belonged to Mr Schefferle's late father.
She said the man was a recreational shooter and had 19 registered firearms.
"It was a mistake, he has instructed that he didn't register these (four seized) firearms but he is ordinarily a responsible firearms holder," the lawyer said.
She said Mr Schefferle had no criminal history and was the sole income earner of his household.
Magistrate Franz Holzer said there were three aspects of the alleged offending that he found particularly concerning - the quantity of drugs seized, that firearms were located in a separate man cave and drugs were behind a false wall.
"The combination of firearms and drugs is certainly concerning," he said.
But he said he was satisfied there were compelling reasons why the man shouldn't be remanded in custody.
Mr Schefferle was released on bail with strict conditions, including he not contact witnesses, comply with the Court Integrated Services Program and not use drugs.
He will appear in court again on August 8.
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