Police found a sawn-off shot gun, crystal meth and marijuana at the man’s property. File photo
Police found a sawn-off shot gun, crystal meth and marijuana at the man’s property. File photo

Sawn-off shotgun, crystal meth found in Gympie man’s shed

A 50-year-old man has faced Gympie Magistrates Court after police found an illegal sawn-off shot gun, crystal meth and marijuana in his shed and caravan after being tipped off earlier this year.

On May 3, police searched Steen Hassel Burke's caravan and shed, where he lived and worked as a mechanic, and found the illegal weapon and a small amount of drugs.

The court heard the shed and caravan were on a multi-dwelling property in Nahrunda, which was also home to a horse riding school.

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Police found three clip-seal bags containing small traces of meth, a fourth bag and a metal bowl each with 0.5g of marijuana, a small quantity of marijuana seeds, and a water pipe.

Burke told police there was ice in the clip-seal bags, but he had believed they were empty.

They also found a sawn-off shotgun, shortened down to fit in a laptop bag, which Burke told them he was holding for somebody else.

Earlier that day a customer had dropped his car at the property for repairs while Burke was out, and before leaving the man emptied the contents of the car and left the sawn-off shotgun in the shed, the court heard.

When Burke came back to his shed he was "disturbed" to see the shotgun left there, and was worried as children from the nearby riding school often used the shed's toilet.

Burke's defence lawyer said her client moved the gun into his caravan to keep it away from any children, and rang the owner to ask why it had been left there.

The owner of the gun was arrested the same day on other matters, and told police where they could find the gun, which led to the search on Burke's property.

Burke's lawyer said the incident had served as a "significant turning point" for her client, who now kept his shed locked and was more "discerning" about his customers.

She said Burke had also been attending trauma, alcohol and drug counselling and was trying to turn his drug use around.

Burke pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of meth, possession of a water pipe, possessing without reasonable excuse a shortened weapon, and unlawfully possessing the weapon (having no licence).

Burke was given a head sentence of six months with immediate parole.

Gympie Times

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