Gun charges admitted by Vagg

A SELF-employed metalworker on remand since last November yesterday pleaded guilty to the manufacture of prohibited pen pistols at his Corowa business.

Benjamin Vagg appeared in Albury Local Court through a video link from Junee jail.

He will be sentenced in Albury District Court on August 11 after pleading guilty to charges of possessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm and manufacturing a prohibited firearm.

Magistrate Tony Murray was told four other charges would be taken into consideration when Vagg was sentenced, while three charges were withdrawn by Director of Public Prosecutions representative Andrew Hanshaw.

Mr Murray remanded Vagg, 34, of North Albury, in custody and ordered a pre-sentence report for his sentencing.

The court was told in tendered facts that Vagg lived with his wife and children at North Albury before his arrest.

At times, he stayed in a small bedroom at the business he owned and operated in Corowa known as Ben’s Mobile Welding Fabrication.

Police went to his business on November 1, arrested Vagg and searched the premises on a warrant relating to the possession and manufacture of prohibited firearms.

Officers found two “home-made” pen pistols capable of firing .22 rim fire ammunition, two rifle silencers and some boxed and loose ammunition including .22 calibre bullets.

They also found a “falconer” sling shot, along with a knuckle duster knife combination known commonly as a trench knife.

Police seized numerous schematics, instruction sheets and detailed hand-drawn diagrams relating to pen pistol manufacture.

Officers seized tools, an industrial lathe and other machinery believed to have been used in the manufacture of firearms.

When Vagg first appeared in court on November 4 seeking bail, it was claimed the pen pistols were “centre punch” tools he made for use in his business.

But he was refused bail and police have since obtained ballistics reports relating to the pistols.