Three charged over alleged Hunter service station ram-raids

Three men have been charged following an investigation into petrol station ram-raids in the Lower Hunter earlier this year.

Strike Force Emirs was established by the State Crime Command's Robbery and Serious Crime Squad to investigate ram-raids on two petrol stations in the Lake Macquarie area in March.

About 3.30am on March 3, a car was used to force entry into a service station at Wyee, where a safe containing cash and $25,000 worth of cigarettes were stolen. The car was abandoned at the scene.

A short time later, a ute smashed into a second petrol station nearby at Fennel Bay, where several unsuccessful attempts were made to remove an ATM.

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Following extensive inquiries police searched three properties at Cessnock from on Thursday, where police seized several items.

Two men - aged 18 and 23 - were arrested and taken to Maitland Police Station.

The younger man was charged with three counts of take and drive conveyance without consent of owner, three counts of aggravated break and enter dwelling etc in company steal, be carried in conveyance taken without consent of owner, drive conveyance taken without consent of owner, never licensed person drive vehicle on road and enter building/land with intent commit indictable offence.

The second man was charged with four counts of drive while licence cancelled, three counts of aggravated break and enter dwelling etc in company steal, two counts of police pursuit - not stop - drive at speed, two counts drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, enter building/land with intent commit indictable offence, take & drive conveyance without consent of owner, drive conveyance taken without consent of owner, steal motor vehicle, aggravated robbery and destroy etc property in company use fire etc.

A third man, aged 25, was arrested at a correctional facility and taken to Maitland Police Station.

He was charged with three counts of aggravated break, enter and steal, two counts of take and drive conveyance without consent of owner, drive conveyance without consent of owner, two counts of drive motor vehicle during disqualification period and enter building/land with intent to commit indictable offence.

Police will allege in court that the group stole three vehicles before using the cars to force entry into two service stations and steal cash and goods.

They were all refused bail and appeared at Maitland Local Court today.

The 18-year-old and 25-year-old were both formally refused bail to appear at Cessnock Local Court on June 11.

The 23-year-old man was also refused bail to appear at Cessnock Local Court on August 5.

This story Three charged over alleged Hunter service station ram-raids first appeared on Newcastle Herald.