The stolen weapons included a restricted military .5 calibre rifle and a .45 calibre weapon.
The stolen weapons included a restricted military .5 calibre rifle and a .45 calibre weapon. Rob Williams

Miner jailed over major Gympie gun heist

"I LOVE you," a young woman cried out in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday, as her 20-year-old partner went to jail for his role in one of Gympie's most serious and sophisticated gun heists.

The court was told Andrew David Troy Kelly, 20, had been part of an intelligently planned and professionally executed burglary at the property of an Araluen gun dealer, whose internet advertisements had attracted the attention of others involved in the theft.

The court was told 35 guns were among "a large amount of property" stolen when Kelly and his associates raided the Nash Rd property between May 21 and 29 last year.

And 24 of those guns were still missing, bound for sale to the criminal underworld, the court was told.

The stolen weapons included a restricted military .5 calibre rifle and a .45 calibre weapon.

"I'll spend my birthday in jail," Kelly commented after magistrate Ross Woodford told him he would be in jail for four months, awaiting parole.

He and the young woman, described as his girlfriend of four-and-a-half years, stole a tearful last-minute hug as the police prosecutor briefed the watch house officer who had arrived to take Kelly away.

Kelly's solicitor, Chris Anderson, told the court negative family influences in Kelly's life included violent abuse by his father and elder brother and said Kelly had been recruited into the burglary by an aunt and uncle at their Groves Rd home.

"It is to be hoped he would in future have the guts to stand up to his family and avoid such situations," Mr Anderson told the court.

Kelly pleaded guilty to four charges of unlawful entry with criminal intent, stealing firearms and ammunition and unlawful possession of weapons.

He also pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, producing cannabis and possessing cannabis utensils between May 29 and June 1 last year.

A dwelling on the property had been ransacked and two strong rooms entered, with damage to a safe which had been subject to an attempt to break into it.

"There can be no purpose to stealing firearms other than to sell them on or to use them for further unlawful purposes, the prosecutor said.

Kelly had an unfortunate mental health history and had experienced suicidal thoughts as he awaited his court appearance, Mr Anderson said.

"In this day and age, stealing firearms is a very serious offence," Mr Woodford said.

"These weapons obviously were not stolen for shooting pigeons.

"They were stolen for a much more serious and illegal use, and to be sold on the black market.

"There was quite a deal of sophistication and very serious offences.

"You will serve a term of imprisonment and get time to reflect on your life," he said.

Gympie Times

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