A man who let his neighbour borrow two rifles, which were then stolen in a burglary, was strongly reprimanded and fined in the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Monday.
The court was told Leigh Bigham had not asked if his neighbour had a licence or a safe to store the rifles in, and was unaware his neighbour was a prohibited person.
Not long after he loaned him the rifles, a .308 with scope and a .22, the neighbour's house was broken into and the rifles were stolen.
Representing himself, Bigham pleaded guilty and was fined $500 with conviction.
"I can't prove anything other than my own ignorance for not asking first," he said.
"He was in the army and everything he talked about - I stupidly assumed he automatically had a licence - I've kicked myself every day since."
Magistrate Ron Saines brought up the recent shooting on the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne as evidence that illegal guns were still a major problem in Victoria.
"All it takes is for someone to (remove) registration numbers - it's a valuable weapon for the most serious crimes," he said.
"It's a lesson for you and everyone else."
The guns have not yet been recovered.
Earlier on Monday, in a separate case, a man avoided conviction after pleading guilty to possessing an unregistered pump-action shotgun and hiding it in his pool table.
The court was told the man, from Smythes Creek, took the gun after his former daughter-in-law found it while clearing out her deceased father's home.
Police executed a search warrant in June 2019, and the man gave them the gun.
There was no ammunition found, and the man said he had never fired it - he added he wasn't aware he needed to register it, or hold a licence.
Mr Saines told him unregistered firearms helped to create a black market for criminals.
"Your ignorance - it did not in this case - potentially services the most serious criminal elements," he said.
"If criminals find a firearm like this in a burglary, it's a jackpot really."
The man was given a 12 month adjourned undertaking, and order to pay $500 to the court fund.
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