Naden fears spark Bellbrook protest
More than 120 residents turned out in the main centre of Bellbrook on Saturday to protest against a decision which removed the town’s sole policeman to South West Rocks for part of the holiday season.
Residents believe they are being left to fend for themselves with their officer so frequently out of town. Local GP Paul Appleton said allegations the notorious felon could be in the area were placing enormous stress on local families.
“Naden’s presence has been an open secret upriver for some time and the fingerprints have just confirmed it,” he said.
The community believes Naden is behind a string of recent robberies.
Non-perishable food, camping gear, binoculars and protective clothing has all been stolen from local homes within the past month.
Cash and other valuables are ignored.
Dr Appleton said residents have resorted to doing things in pairs and some locals were even sleeping with guns beside their beds.
Late yesterday NSW Police issued a statement that said the officer stationed at Bellbrook Police Station was available to be called out as part of a 24-hour police response within the community. In an effort to ensure community safety, police resources were committed to areas where appropriate and the deployment of the Bellbrook officer to South West Rocks was necessary to tackle crime during the peak holiday season when the population of the town more than doubled.
Previously officers have been relocated to other areas during the peak period, however, the officer in question resides at Bellbrook in order to ensure a more committed service to the community.
The statement concluded by saying the people of Bellbrook could be assured there were significant resources and personnel in place dedicated to locating and apprehending Naden, including highly skilled officers from the Mid North Coast Local Area Command along with detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad.
Malcolm Naden has been on the run since 2005 when the body of Kristy Scholes was found in his Dubbo home.
Naden is also wanted in connection with the disappearance of another woman from Dubbo.