POLICE say criminals in the Northern Rivers have been increasingly slapping together assorted gun parts to create illegally manufactured firearms.
The escalation in the fabrication of these dangerous homemade weapons coincided with an ongoing rise in crystal methamphetamine (ice) related crime across the region.
Richmond LAC Inspector Susie Johnston fronted the media at Lismore Police Station on Thursday, following three raids on Wednesday.
In the raids, at Hare and Gitana Streets, Casino and Perkins Bridge Road, Tatham, police allege they seized a homemade .22 single-shot handgun, an unspecified quantity of ice, shotgun ammo, a gun barrel and stolen goods.
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A 40-year-old man was arrested and charged and a 46-year-old woman was also arrested but later released pending further investigations.
"We don't know at this point (if outlaw motorcycle gangs are involved) but any manufacture of methamphetamines can be linked back to organised crime," Insp Johnston said.
"It's a very, very dangerous drug.
"It's a poison, in fact, made by criminals, quite often, who aren't experienced in chemistry.
How would you solve the ice epidemic
This poll ended on 14 April 2015.
Tougher sentencing - "lock the up and throw away the key" - 32%
Better education, starting at a young age, to keep people away from drugs in the first place - 14%
Better guidance and support services for children and young people to keep them away from drugs - 11%
Better health and support services to get people off ice and back into their lives - 12%
Start looking at a combination of legalisation, decriminalisation and regulation of drugs, supported by medical services so it can be managed socially - 29%
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"Information from the public is our bread and butter.. The more information that we have, the more pieces we have to the puzzle.
"When you get tips obviously you start to look and you dig a little bit deeper into these criminal networks and you find a lot of things."
Insp Johnston was unable to say whether police believed the ice seized was manufactured locally, or imported into the region but she hoped to know more after forensic testing was complete.
She stressed that illegally manufactured guns not only posed a risk to the public, but a risk to users, as they could spectacularly malfunction if fired.
Insp Johnston encouraged anyone with gun parts in their possession to hand them in to local police.
She said they are quite dangerous, even if they are only parts and they are on their own.
Insp Johnston said police continually witnessed the "tragic" repercussions of ice use in their day-to-day rounds.
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