Man arrested over weapons stolen from Australian navy

Police on Saturday arrested a man over a night raid on an Australian naval vessel in which weapons were allegedly stolen by a balaclava-clad intruder dressed in military clothing.

A handout photo, taken in 2010, shows HMAS Anzac conducting a 5-inch gun live firing drill in the East Australian Exercise Area during the Fleet Concentration Period. Police on Saturday arrested a man over a night raid on an Australian naval vessel in which weapons were allegedly stolen by a balaclava-clad intruder dressed in military clothing.

Northern Territory Police said they had recovered the two shotguns and 12 pistols stolen from a navy patrol boat moored at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin around midnight on Thursday.

Police raided a Darwin city unit this afternoon and recovered "all of the outstanding weapons," said Commander Richard Bryson.

"One man is currently in police custody and the investigation is continuing as to the contextual circumstances surrounding the theft of the weapons," Bryson said.

"This is a significant result for the Northern Territory Police and the community to recover these weapons and remove them from the streets so quickly."

The weapons were taken after the officer on duty was assaulted and bound with cables ties. He suffered only minor injuries and was eventually able to release the ties to raise the alarm.

The dramatic incident prompted navy chief Vice Admiral Ray Griggs to order an investigation into security on all naval ships and bases, while Australian Federal Police were also probing the crime.

"It's certainly a breach of security and it's a very concerning one for me," Griggs told Fairfax radio on Friday, adding that it was the first breach of its type on an Australian navy vessel.

HMAS Coonawarra is where the Royal Australian Navy bases most of its 14 Armidale Class patrol boats.

Darwin is a vital navy port and the centre from which Australia conducts border control operations, with about 600 naval personnel in the area, many working at sea in border protection.

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Writer: AFP
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