Crackdown! Police raid Coast bikie gangs

By BELINDA SCOTT

MOTORCYCLE gang clubhouses at Woolgoolga and Toormina were among six outlaw motorcycle gang clubhouses raided by police yesterday in a state-wide operation which netted police alcohol, cash and two prohibited weapons.

Coffs Clarence Local Area Command Acting Crime Manager Peter O'Reilly said 45 police, including detectives and uniformed officers, were involved in the Coffs Coast section of the operation, which targeted the Finks outlaw motorcycle club premises at 17 Hawk Drive in Woolgoolga and the Lone Wolf outlaw motorcycle gang premises at 2/4 Hulberts Road in Toormina.

He said alcohol, bar equipment and some cash had been seized from each of these two locations, but no one had been arrested 'at this stage'.

Some Coffs Harbour residents said yesterday they had known five years ago alcohol was being sold locally at a motorcycle gang clubhouse, but Peter O'Reilly said he was not aware of this.

"We are acting on recent information," he said.

"We would certainly encourage any member of the public who would like to speak to us discreetly to contact Coffs Harbour Police and talk to one of the detectives."

The Acting Crime Manager said while the bulk of police involved yesterday were from the Coffs Clarence LAC, they also had a few out-of-town visitors, including officers from the Gangs Squad.

Gangs Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Scott Whyte said the clubhouses were raided after they were allegedly detected selling alcohol.

"Today's raids are part of an ongoing state-wide commitment to target outlaw motorcycle gangs engaged in all levels of crime, including the operation of unlicensed premises," Det.Supt. Whyte said.

"We will allege the clubs raided today are operated by the Rebels, Lone Wolf, Finks and Fourth Reich outlaw motorcycle gangs.

"We have intelligence which indicates members of the public, particularly in rural areas of New South Wales, are attending these clubhouses after local licensed premises have closed.

"It is important that members of the public are aware that they expose themselves to prosecution if located by police on these unlicensed premises.

"We also have strong intelligence indicating that outlaw motorcycle gangs invite members of the public to their clubhouses as a means to recruit new members and sell illicit drugs."

The state-wide raids, which began shortly after 10am yesterday, were co-ordinated by State Crime Command Gangs Squad detectives attached to Operation Ranmore, the NSW crackdown operation on outlaw motorcycle gangs established in May.

The raids involved police from five different area commands.

Police said more than $30,000 worth of alcohol and documents, as well as a large quantity of cash, was seized in yesterday's raids while they also found a small quantity of illicit drugs, two prohibited firearms and other property.

Police said 121 outlaw motorcycle gang members and associates had been arrested in the last three months in NSW and charged with 440 offences ranging from traffic matters to supplying drugs, unlawful violence and taking part in a criminal group.



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