Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hunt for fugitive Malcolm Naden focuses on Barrington Tops BY DAN PROUDMAN CHIEF POLICE REPORTER 21 Oct, 2010 04:00 AM

A police strike force hunting fugitive Malcolm Naden has admitted its focus was on the Barrington Tops after months of suspicious activity in the national park.

Residents have criticised police for a perceived lack of information being released about the investigation into the double-murder suspect since evidence first surfaced that the expert bushman was using the area as a hideout almost three years ago.

Police say they have ruled out a campsite discovered by a pig hunter 10 days ago as being linked to Naden, although bushmen with decades of experience within the Barringtons disagreed with the police line that it was probably used by cannabis growers.

‘‘We have come across heaps of dope growers’ places over the years and this one is nothing like the rest of them; it isn’t even in the right sort of area for them,’’ one experienced bushman said.

A State Crime Command statement issued following questions from the Newcastle Herald said police had been made aware of reports of burglaries in and around the Barrington Tops.

‘‘The current focus of the investigation is on the Barrington Tops area,’’ the police statement said.

A DNA match to Naden’s profile was found at a break-in at Stewarts Brook in 2008 and the Herald is aware of more than 20 extremely similar burglaries on properties across all sides of the Barringtons since Easter.

Items being stolen include several guns.

‘‘Police can reassure the community that there is a dedicated strike force in place conducting regular operations and investigations into the whereabouts of Malcolm Naden,’’ the statement said.

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