Hunter bikie war: police raid Nomads and Finks

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RAIDS: A police officer holds up Troy Vanderlight’s Finks vest during a raid at a home at Tenambit on Thursday morning. Mr Vanderlight was arrested and charged with affray and participating in a criminal group. IT IS the Hunter bikie war being fought by police on two fronts – on the streets and in the courtroom.
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After Thursday’s massive show of strength, during which 280 officers raided 31 properties and charged 13 members and associates of the warring Nomads and Finks, police will take their battle to eradicate the gangs and stop the violence back into the Supreme Court.

TheNewcastle Heraldcan reveal that senior police are seeking to impose the same tough conditionson five members of the Finks that their bitter rivals, the Nomads, have been fighting in court.

Police have applied for Serious Crime Prevention Orders, labelled “draconian” by a judge, against Hunter Finks members Mitchell Alexander Cole, Benjamin James Main, Andrew Robert Manners, Matthew Maybury and Troy Vanderlight.

The orders include restrictions on associating with other gang members, moving around at night, entering licensed venues and using encrypted messaging apps.The matter is listed for hearing next week.

Gangs squad commander Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace said police had been“relentless” so far but would “reach out a little further” and use the legislation against both gangs.

“We’d tried everything we already had in our tool box… but the violence continued,” she said. “The legislation was designed for these situations.

“It’s an attempt to not only curb violent behaviour and protect innocent members of the community, but also to have an impact on the way these groups are trying to do business.”

She added: “Are they getting tired of doing it? It doesn’t appear so and neither are we.”

Thursday’s sweeping dawn raids were a massive show of strength:an unequivocal message to the gangs that police were not going away.

Police raided 31 properties between Maitland and Muswellbrook and arrested nine members and associates of the Finks and four of the Nomads.

They were charged withvarious offences,including participating in a criminal group, possession of a prohibited drug, supplying a prohibited drug, possession of a prohibited weapon and resisting arrest.

Police seized drugs, a taser, an extendable baton, firearm parts, ammunition, a knuckle duster, explosive detonators, a crossbow and five arrows and a python snake at a property at Hunterview.

“We’ll be relentless in our pursuit of stopping and oppressingthis activity…not only is the conflict between Nomads and Finks but it is now impacting on community members and family members. Innocent people are now getting caught up in this,”Detective Superintendent Wallace said.

And police haven’t let up in their attempt to incapacitate the gangs using legislation usually reservedfor terrorism suspects.

Police have sought to impose serious crime prevention orders against Nomads members James Quinnell,Blake Kevin Martin, Bradley Bowtell, Dylan Patrick Britliffe, and Kane Benjamin Tamplin.

The five men have opposed the orders and deny they are engaged in “open warfare” with the Finks. Justice David Davies has reserved his judgement.

But police will bring similar orders against the Finks next week and say the escalating acts of violence and tit-for-tat shootings have left them no choice.

Documents tendered in the NSW Supreme Court as part of the application against the Nomads reveal there was a meeting held between police and at least one of the gangs to try and resolve the ongoing dispute.

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