A BOAt passes through the strech of river where a number of rifles were found.
A BOAt passes through the strech of river where a number of rifles were found. Craig Sadler

Guns found in Tweed river

THREE rifles have been sent to Sydney for forensic testing after being dragged from the muddy banks of the Tweed River.

Rowers alerted police after they found a rifle butt sticking out of the mud on the river bank at Murwillumbah during an early morning rowing expedition on Saturday.

A .22 calibre sterling lithgow rifle, a sterling mod 14 single shot rifle and a .243 calibre sako rifle were uncovered on the bank of the river near the Commercial Road boat ramp.

Police said the weapons, thought to have been dumped recently, had been sent to Sydney for forensic testing on whether they had been used in a “serious” crime.

The rower who alerted police didn't want to be identified for fear of retaliation.

He said he saw the butt of one of the rifles sticking out of the mud near the shoreline during low tide.

When the police went out in a boat and scanned the area, they uncovered the two other rifles.

“I only saw the one,” the man said. “I just rowed past the area and thought 'There's something odd about that'.

“At first I thought it was a stick, but then I realised. It looked like someone had driven past and thrown them out of the window.

“The butt of one of the rifles was sticking out as if it had been tossed and the barrel had stuck into the mud.”

Another man involved in the discovery of the rifles said it was unlikely the guns would have been found if the tide had not been so low.

“It was probably really unlucky for the person trying to get rid of them because the butt of one was just sticking out at low tide,” he said.

“The others were not visible at all. They didn't appear to have been there too long and they were still capable of firing.”

Police would not speculate on the type of crime the weapons could have been involved in, but said rifles were not commonly used in robberies.

Meanwhile, NSW Police are trying to encourage people to hand in or register their illegal guns by running a three month Firearm Amnesty.

From now until the end of May, owners of illegal firearms can surrender them in with no questions asked, no penalties given and anonymity guaranteed.

However, after the amnesty any breach will be dealt with under the existing laws and penalties.

Police are also reminding licensed firearms holders of the requirements for safe storage of their weapons.

In August 2008, the Tweed Daily News reported that there was one registered firearm for every 16 people living within the Tweed Shire.

The number of illegal firearms remains unknown.



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