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Military 'obsession' leads to weapons charges

Published: 11:51AM Tuesday May 15, 2012 Source: Fairfax

An Auckland man with a fascination for police and military equipment, including guns, has been arrested by police for alleged possession of offensive weapons.

Police say they are worried about the behaviour of the man, who has previously applied to join the police and the army.

He has been caught with an arsenal of offensive weapons and police paraphernalia in the past.

Police say the man has an "obsession" with the police and military and although he does not have a history of violence, they are concerned about his behaviour.

The man was convicted in 2010 after officers discovered a police bullet proof vest, army clothing, 20 or 30 firearms, ammunition and imitation weapons in his home.

Police say he was pulled over in south-east Auckland on Friday on his way home from the video store.

They say a search of his car allegedly revealed a hunting knife in the pocket of his car door and handcuffs and a retractable baton in his boot.

"My concern is that this sort of obsession he appears to have with weapons and military, police and those sorts of things, if it's just a fascination it could be harmless but you don't know, it could be more than that," Sergeant Mark Fleming of the Counties Manukau Road Crime Unit said.

"As far as we know he's never harmed anybody. We don't want him to either. He's driving round with a fairly sizeable knife in the door pocket of the car - there's not many reasonable excuses to why you feel the need to do that."

The knife was new and still in its sheath.

The man was involved in war-game activities using non-lethal weapons, and does have a firearms licence.

Fleming said the man had not come to police attention before his first round of weapons charges. He was only discovered then when he tried to avoid a breath-test checkpoint.

The man is on bail and will appear in court on charges relating to the weapons.

Police attribute such arrests to their new get-tough tactics behind the Road Crime Unit, with more rigorous checks of vehicles and their occupants in Counties Manukau.

"He's one of those that if you'd stop and speak to him in the street you wouldn't think anything was amiss and only because we're doing things differently, we're finding people who otherwise wouldn't have come to police attention," Fleming said.

"But there are people out there who are, potentially, a worry to the community."