BEFORE: The Nomads club house at Tea Gardens in the Hunter Region / Picture: Strike Force Raptor Source: Supplied
AFTER: There wasn’t much left to speak of after the police raids / Picture: Strike Force Raptor Source: Supplied
THE escalating statewide battle against outlaw bikie clubs is hitting home for gangs, with fortified clubhouses being torn apart and property confiscated.
Exclusive pictures released to mark the fifth anniversary of the formation of Strike Force Raptor show the gutted remains of 19 clubhouses after officers from the elite squad had paid a call.
“Outlaw motorcycle gangs are groups that have no respect for the law, the communities they live in or society in general. Our job is to restore that respect,’’ Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas said.
The strike force was formed after a 2009 brawl between rival gangs the Commancheros and Hells Angels at Sydney Airport left one bikie dead.
Since then police have arrested more than 2500 people and charged them with more than 5500 offences.
They have seized 636 firearms and $15 million worth of illegal drugs.
“Officers have visited bikies at their homes, at their businesses, at their clubhouses, and during their weekend getaways,” Mr Kaldas said.
Officer from the strike force have used any law available to force bikies to toe the line, with Mr Kaldas claiming they “have not only arrested and charged bikies for major offences like attempted murder, extortion and sexual assault, they have booked thousands for riding bikes without helmets, speeding, even participating in sporting events without the appropriate accreditation.”
In one case 18 members of the Rebels were summoned to court for 273 tax offences.
Others have been pursued for rorting Centrelink and bikies have been issued with thousands of vehicle infringement notices.
It appears the strategy is working. A series of raids on bikie clubhouses, where police dismantle the facilities, led to the Port Stephens Bandidos chapter closing before police arrived.
“The strong enforcement action has led to some leaders of outlaw motorcycle gangs handing in their colours,” Mr Kaldas said.
Gangs Squad commander, Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace, said: “If we receive information that bikies are intimidating other members of the community you can rest assured they will be promptly visited by officers from Raptor and their anti-social ways will be toned down quick smart.”
Supt Wallace said community support and information was vital: “You can provide information anonymously and it will be treated in the strictest of confidence.”
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
HITTING ‘EM WHERE IT HURTS:
17 drug labs closed
19 club houses closed
$15 million drugs seized
636 guns seized
46,000 bullets seized