Four charged over break-ins

A LONE man walking down Kent Street, Grafton, on Tuesday morning raised the suspicion of one resident who was driving away from his home at the time.

Based on his gut feeling the driver did a U-turn and before he could reach the character, whom he said appeared to be “casing” houses, an unmarked police car sped up to the man and officers jumped out and handcuffed him.

“Within a minute there was a paddy wagon there to take him away,” said the man, who asked not to be named.

It was the start of a busy day for Grafton police.

The Kent Street pedestrian who raised suspicion, Craig Byers, 26, of Grafton, appeared in court within hours, charged with a break and enter offence as well as found with intent to repeat an indictable offence.

About 5pm on Tuesday, police executed simultaneous search warrants on two cabins at a caravan park in South Grafton and a house in nearby Maxwell Avenue.

During the search, police allegedly found mobile telephones, jewellery, credit cards and other items, all of which are alleged to have been stolen in a series of break-and-enters in Grafton and Yamba in the past two months.

Police arrested three men at the caravan park, Noel ‘Bobby’ Gibson, 29, Damien Gibson, 25, and Desmond Swan, 24. They appeared in Maclean Local Court yesterday charged with break, enter and steal offences relating to a shop break-in at Yamba on June 16 and two of them, both Gibsons, were refused bail until their next court appearance.

A police statement said numerous additional charges were likely to be laid in the future, some regarding the attempted disposal of $40,000 worth of jewellery alleged to have been taken during one of the break-ins. Coffs/Clarence crime commander Cameron Lindsay said police were pleased with the success of the operation and it was a testament to the work of the Target Action Group.

“We will allege these men are responsible for a large number of break and enters in the Grafton and South Grafton areas in the past two months and believe there will be a significant reduction in break and enters as a result,” he said.

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