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Vikings motorcycle club wants to expand to cannabis capital of Australia, hearing told

Bikie gang looking to expand

Sergeant at Arms of the Vikings Motorcycle Club, Shane Wethling. Source: News Limited

A BALLARAT motorcycle club aligned to the Hells Angels and with links to underworld figure Mick Gatto is looking to expand in to Griffith, NSW, the "cannabis capital of Australia".

The Vikings, a club from Ballarat that claims to be for social bike riders, has been accused of harbouring drug dealers, bash artists and gun traders today in a hearing before the Firearms Appeal Committee in Melbourne.

Police say the club is also trying to infiltrate the NSW drug town of Griffith, and members have become the foot soldiers for the Hells Angels in Melbourne's increasingly brutal bikie turf war.

Vikings members were also present at the botched execution of Bandido Toby Mitchell in Melton, which has become known in police circles as the "Melton incident".

At least one man associated with the club has fled interstate after making death threats, while a man was left with a permanent disability after being bashed by other associates of the club.

Witnesses against another Viking member were threatened with rape and an assault case against him collapsed, police alleged at the hearing.

Another Viking member was until recently a rigger for crane businessman, boxing promoter and Carlton Crew heavy Mick Gatto.

Concerns over the activities of the Vikings emerged today at the FAC, where the club's sergeant-at-arms, Shane Wethling, was attempting to overturn a ban on him holding a firearm licence.

Mr Wethling is a Ballarat farmer who also runs his own cleaning business employing 12 people.

He told the committee he wanted his gun licence returned so he could deal with a fox problem on his farm, which is about 16km from Ballarat.

He has no criminal convictions and told the committee he was unaware of many of the criminal allegations levelled against Viking members until told of them by police.

But barrister Gerard Maguire, for the Chief Commissioner, accused Mr Wethling of offering "the Sgt Schultz defence - I know nothing" when asked about the activities of his fellow members.

"This is not a social motorcycle club at all. It's a criminal gang," Mr Maguire told the hearing.

"One asked the question what possible reason can there be for a social club to turn up to a planned assassination and to be setting up a subsidiary in the cannabis capital of Australia," Mr Maguire said,.

He said Mr Wethling was not a fit and proper person to hold a gun licence.