Operation Highground: four men charged, vehicles sized in far west

Four men have been charged and two vehicles have been seized during a proactive police operation targeting rural crime offences in central western NSW. Photo: NSW Police
Four men have been charged and two vehicles have been seized during a proactive police operation targeting rural crime offences in central western NSW. Photo: NSW Police

Four men have been charged and two vehicles have been seized during a proactive police operation targeting rural crime offences in central western NSW.

Between November 26 - 29, officers from the Walgett, Bourke and Moree rural crime prevention teams, with the assistance of general duties and Ddetectives from Central North Police District, converged in Nyngan and Cobar for Operation Highground.

The three-day operation targeted illegal hunting, trespass and rural crime offences.

About 6.24pm on Wednesday, November 27, police received reports a white Toyota Landcruiser utility was seen on a property at the Marra, north of Nyngan.

It is alleged two men were seen rounding up goats with their dogs, before leaving in the vehicle after being confronted by a witness.

About 10am, the same vehicle was allegedly seen on a property at Carinda, during which the two male occupants were again confronted before leaving the property.

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Shortly after 12pm, police from Walgett highway patrol and the rural crime prevention team were involved in a pursuit with the vehicle after it failed to stop when directed while driving along Colane Road, approximately 35 kilometres north of Nyngan.

The vehicle was driven through several fences before crashing into a creek bed on a rural property, where the two occupants escaped on foot.

The vehicle was seized under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act.

About 7am the following day on Thursday, November 28, police located a 40-year-old Warren man walking along Merryanbone Road at Nyngan.

He was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated enter enclosed lands, two counts of entering private land to hunt animals, destroy/damage property, and fail to disclose identity of driver/passenger.

He was granted conditional bail to appear before Walgett Local Court on January 14, 2020.

About 11.30am on Friday, November 29, rural crime investigators arrested a 38-year-old man at an address in Warren.

He was taken to Warren police station where he was charged with police pursuit, two counts of aggravated enter enclosed lands, two counts of entering private land to hunt animal, destroy/damage property and drive whilst disqualified.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear before Walgett Local Court on January 14, 2020.

Police also stopped and spoke to numerous lawful hunters, livestock carriers and farmers throughout the operation, speaking with them about rural crime issues, and ensuring compliance with firearms, hunting and biosecurity legislation.

Central North Police District Commander, Superintendent Andrew Hurst said police will continue to focus on rural crime as part of Operation Highground.

"We encourage the rural community to report any crime, such as trespass or stealing, to allow police to investigate the offence," he said.

"The response to this investigation demonstrates police will take swift action and will seize motor vehicles if they are used in committing a rural crime offence.

NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention Team State Coordinator, Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside, commended officers attached to Central North Police District for their commitment to tackling rural crime issues head-on.

"Unless you are a slow learner, now is the time to stop committing rural crimes or you will be caught," he said.