Man in court after stolen guns found in car

Bail application: A court has heard police found two stolen guns in a car and another in a shed in Shepparton. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Two stolen guns were found in a car that was searched by police after the vehicle was seen being driven erratically, a court has heard.

Nathyn Lee, 30, of no fixed address but living in Shepparton, successfully applied for bail in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court.

He is facing charges, including possessing a traffickable amount of firearms, four counts of possessing an unregistered handgun, possessing an unregistered longarm gun, and three counts of dishonestly receiving stolen goods, four counts of failing to store ammunition correctly, and four counts of possessing ammunition without a licence.

He is also charged with four counts of failing to store ammunition correctly, four counts of possessing ammunition without a licence, driving an unregistered vehicle, possessing methamphetamines and possessing cannabis.

Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Brent O’Grady told the court police spotted a Santa Fe wagon being driven erratically by Lee in Westmoreland Cres in Shepparton at 4.48am on July 25.

The vehicle evaded police at that time, but was later found parked in Westmoreland Cres.

Police searched the car and found a sawn-off Beretta 12-gauge shotgun and a CBC .22 rifle.

The Beretta had been stolen from Cobram, while the CBC had been stolen from Harston on February 15, 2019, Leading Sen Constable O’Grady said.

Ammunition was also found in the car.

The car was unregistered, and a small amount of cannabis and methamphetamines was also found.

Examination of Lee’s phone found a Facebook message from Lee to another person mentioning he had a “sawn-off” for sale, Leading Sen Constable O’Grady said.

When police searched a shed at Lee’s partner’s Shepparton house — where he was living until six weeks earlier — they found a sawn-off shotgun, two disassembled handguns and ammunition, Leading Sen Constable O’Grady said.

When interviewed by police, Lee told them the two guns in the car were his and he “bought them”, Leading Sen Constable O’Grady said.

Lee said he bought the shotgun in the shed as part of a bundle with the other two guns found in the car and was aware they were stolen, Leading Sen Constable O’Grady said.

The court heard Lee told police the ammunition was given to him at the time he bought the guns.

Lee also told police the disassembled handguns were gel blasters, with the court hearing police were still to conduct further inquiries into whether this was true.

Representing Lee, solicitor Anthony Coote said his instructions were that the handguns were gel blasters.

Mr Coote said his client, who is a concreter and house painter, had been co-operative with police, and that there had been a lack of court priors in the past “10 years or so”.

He said bail conditions could be imposed to mitigate risks of bail.

Magistrate David Faram bailed Lee with conditions that he comply with the Court Integrated Services program, not leave Victoria, not contact witnesses, live in Shepparton, abide by a 9pm to 6am curfew and not use drugs.