Police investigate man accused of buying guns and ammunition with fake licenses

Police released this New Zealand forged firearms license in the name of James Michael Yates. Photo / Supplied
Police released this New Zealand forged firearms license in the name of James Michael Yates. Photo / Supplied

A man using forged firearm licenses has been buying guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition illegally, police allege.

Police are investigating the matter and have been warning firearms dealers, gun clubs, collectors and other sellers about the fake licenses.

Central District Police said the person, going by the names of Trevor William Johns and James Michael Yates, recently bought a pistol and ammunition from a Whanganui collector and also had a similar purchase in Tauranga. Police released an image of the license allegedly used in the operation.

Detective Sergeant Glenn Toy of Whanganui Police said the Whanganui purchase, at a licensed collector, was under the name Johns and the Tauranga cash purchase was under the name Yates.

"Police are interested in hearing from anyone who may have been approached by him using these identities, or who may have come across anyone acting suspiciously while trying to purchase firearms - and we encourage dealers, collectors or members of the public selling firearms legitimately to remain vigilant," Mr Toy said.

"If dealers or anyone else selling firearms has concerns about the legitimacy of someone who may approach them to buy firearms, they should contact police immediately.

"While at this stage there is nothing to suggest any wider threat to the public, we take any such illegal purchase seriously and will respond accordingly to ensure public safety."

The 'E, (MSSA)' endorsement on the licence enables licence holders to use military-style semi-automatic weapons.

The 'C, general' endorsement enables licence holders to collect pistols or restricted weapons, but does not allow the holder to fire the weapons.

Police say their inquiries into the matter are continuing.

In October last year, staff from the current affairs show Story forged a document to obtain a firearm, which they said was aimed at highlighting a loophole in the law.

Presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan broke the story, saying it showed a rifle could be purchased through mail order, apparently without producing a gun licence.

The mail order form sent to Gun City included false details, including an invented gun licence number.

A police investigation was started into allegations "false details had been used to fraudulently obtain a firearm via an online/mail order dealer".

During the investigation police searched Du Plessis-Allan's Wellington home.

Her husband, Newstalk ZB journalist Barry Soper, tweeted a photo at the time of police searching their home for handwriting samples.

But police decided not to charge Du Plessis-Allan and instead issued formal warnings against three MediaWorks staff for their involvement in the purchase of the firearm.

Police said they were satisfied the firearm was not purchased for any sinister purpose and that's why the investigation only resulted in the issuing of warnings.

- NZ Herald

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