Illegal firearms found stashed in wall cavity behind bookcase
A man who stashed several firearms in a cavity behind a bookcase has forfeited them to police.
Robert Wayne Clifford’s home on Waikakaho Rd in Tuamarina, northwest of Blenheim, was raided by police on December 7.
During the search police found a wall cavity, hidden behind of a bookcase, full of firearms and equipment, a police summary of facts said.
Police seized a Remington model 788, calibre .222 with a scope; a Rossi calibre .357; a Ruger, calibre .33 with a scope; a Remington model 700, calibre .308, with a scope; a Weaver slug gun with a scope, a firearm cleaning kit, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition for each firearm.
The 47-year-old had never held a firearms licence, and was even refused a licence due to previous bad behaviour, the summary said.
A protection order was also in force against him banning him from possessing firearms.
Clifford admitted unlawfully possessing firearms and breaching a protection order when he appeared in the Blenheim District Court on Monday.
He was found in illegal possession of firearms twice before, in 1997 and 2009.
Clifford’s lawyer Kent Arnott said his client accepted the firearms would be destroyed.
They were given to Clifford by his friend’s wife, and he was just “holding onto them”, so there were no “sinister circumstances”, Arnott said.
The cavity was already there when he moved into the property, so it was not as though he built the cavity to conceal the weapons, but “put them there so they were out of the way”, Arnott said.
Clifford was willing to do community work and able to pay a fine, he said.
Judge Bill Hastings said Clifford’s conduct should be denounced and the sentence needed to deter others, but his previous convictions were some time ago.
He convicted Clifford and sentenced him to 80 hours’ community work, and ordered the destruction of the firearms.