A Queensland man has pleaded guilty to being in possession of more than $500,000 of stolen cigarettes
A Queensland man has pleaded guilty to being in possession of more than $500,000 of stolen cigarettes

Plea entered over $500,000 cigarette theft

A QUEENSLAND man that drove a van into the Richmond River while in possession of more than $500,000 worth of stolen cigarettes appeared in Grafton Local Court this week.

Kallangur man David Michael Bell, 39, appeared via audio-visual link and pleaded guilty to a charge of goods suspected stolen in custody dating back to 2016.

On December 30, 2016, at 11.58pm police were informed of a vehicle possibly heading south in NSW from the Queensland border being driven by Bell.

The next day at 12.50am the vehicle was sighted by police travelling south on the Pacific Highway towards Woodburn. Police made a covert observation of the vehicle and it was later found stopped at Woodburn before continuing south.

It was in the Tabbimoble area on the Pacific Highway when Traffic and Highway Patrol activated their lights and sirens and a pursuit began.

Some time later Bell drove the vehicle into the Richmond River at South Ballina, where he was arrested at 2.15am and brought to West Ballina before taken to Lismore Police Station.

A short time later the vehicle was towed from the river and searched at Ballina Police Station where police located boxes full of unopened cigarettes believed to be in excess of $500,000.

In Grafton Local Court on Monday Bell entered a guilty plea and the matter was adjourned for sentencing to Sydney Downing Centre on November 26.



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