Guns thief, gang members jailed over firearms deal

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The man who orchestrated the burglary of a huge cache of weapons from a Dunedin pistol club member has been jailed for nearly four and a-half years.

Scott Alexander Trotter was responsible for the break-in at the Maitland St address on October 25 last year and was instrumental in distributing many of the weapons in the ensuing days.

The Dunedin District Court yesterday heard how the defendant contacted members of the Hells Angels and Bandidos gangs after the burglary.

He offered them 23 pistols, four military-style semi-automatic rifles, a shotgun and 25,000 rounds of ammunition.

Trotter and Raymond Mosley had posed as glaziers to gain entry to the house after Trotter's girlfriend, who had been working there, had alerted them to the potential haul.

They removed a glass panel from a door and once inside found two unlocked safes in the bedrooms containing the arsenal.

Trotter's sentencing yesterday marked the final chapter in the case - he was the last of seven offenders dealt with in connection with the incident and received the longest prison term.

All but one of those charged were jailed.

Once Trotter had the firearms, he used his contacts in the criminal underworld to find buyers.

His communications resulted in three patched Bandidos members flying into Dunedin on November 7.

Grant Latimer, Michael Burnard and William Clouston had all been locked up over their involvement.

After Clouston selected the four guns and ammunition he wanted, Latimer and Burnard stored them at a Waitati house but before they could move them further north, police caught them on the road.

Latimer had a pistol with him and officers later discovered the other weapons at the house where they had been stashed.

Trotter rejected his gang links during yesterday's hearing, interjecting while Judge Crosbie outlined the case against him.

''I'm not a gang member. The police just make up whatever they want,'' he said.

Trotter's affiliations were not the point, the judge said.

''It's a burglary, knowing there's a market out there for firearms.

''That market was very quick to respond, which is something the community should be concerned about,'' he said.

As well as the firearms offending, Trotter also admitted a charge of allowing his vehicle to be used in the commission of a drug offence.

An associate drove his BMW to Gore where he picked up 5g of methamphetamine, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Craig Power said Trotter should be considered a high risk of reoffending.

He said there had been a significant impact on the victim of the burglary.

Trotter's counsel, Andrew Dawson, said his client's parents - ''perhaps only in the way parents can'' - continued to support their son.

In a letter to the court they said they had been proud after watching Trotter graduate from a polytech course recently and thought he had turned his life around.

Mr Dawson accepted the defendant had several pages of criminal convictions but said most were some years ago.

As well as serving a prison term of four years five months, Trotter was also ordered to pay $20,417 in reparation.

Judge Crosbie commended the police for their swift work apprehending those involved in the case.

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Rob Kidd
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