A LAKE Macquarie man who was making handguns that fell into the hands of Newcastle drug dealers was jailed on Monday for four years and six months.
Andrew Peddie, 40, was a fitter machinist at a large Newcastle firm when police attended his workplace and later found a single-shot pistol in his locker.
The pistol could fire a .22 calibre round, a statement of facts tendered to Newcastle District Court said.
Peddie initially told police he found the gun while fishing, but when officers raided his Etheridge Crescent, Edgeworth, home on February 13 they found four guns, various parts and designs showing how to make the pistols.
The discoveries came after the state’s bikie gangs squad found one of the home-made pistols in a Belmont North home during a raid in 2011.
As well as the pistol, police found $250,000 cash and 15kilograms of drugs that eventually landed the occupant nine years’ jail.
Then in September last year police found another one of the pistols on a Newcastle drug dealer.
That pistol had a threaded barrel.
After Peddie’s arrest he helped police seize a total of five of the pistols he had made.
He pleaded guilty to illegally manufacturing firearms in his garage and possessing illegal firearms.
Judge Peter Maiden said a strong message needed to be sent to the community that the illegal manufacture of firearms would result in lengthy jail terms.
Peddie has a non-parole period of two years and six months. With time already served he will be eligible for parole in August 2015.