Eyes on Winton quarry case

DETECTIVES have been given more time to compile evidence in the case of a Tamworth man accused of a string of malicious damage incidents at a local quarry.

Perry Alister Wood allegedly broke into the hard-rock quarry at Winton, on the outskirts of Tamworth, between November 2011 and June the following year, and left a trail of destruction.

Now, detectives are appealing for information on the suspicious activities as they re-examine the case.

According to investigators, the total bill for damage sustained at the quarry and lost production time has tipped $800,000.

In the wake of the string of malicious-damage incidents, the Oxley Rural Crime Unit launched Strike Force Crusher, a dedicated operation to investigate the suspicious incidents which culminated in the charges against Wood earlier this year. Wood had already pleaded not guilty to five counts of maliciously destroying or damaging property to various amounts and two counts of break, enter and destroy property, but admitted to five firearms-related offences after he was questioned by police.

Wood fronted a hearing in Tamworth Local Court on Thursday, but when the charges could not be resolved, investigators were given an adjournment to compile further evidence. 

Detectives maintain Wood allegedly entered the mine on several occasions at night and damaged heavy mining machinery.

As a result of the alleged destruction of the equipment, the mine’s operations were halted on a number of occasions, leaving a hefty bill for the owners.

According to police reports, on one occasion, fertiliser was shoved in the fuel tanks of machinery, while windows of heavy-vehicle mining equipment were smashed.

On another occasion, electrical cables in machinery were cut while 15,000 litres of diesel was deliberately leaked from a bulk fuel tank, too.

Detectives have confirmed they will re-canvass the area and are appealing for information from nearby residents or community members who may have noticed suspicious activity in the Winton area.

Investigators have already spoken to some locals but are hoping the fresh appeal might jog someone’s memory on the period in question.

In particular, detectives are looking to talk to anyone who noticed a pushbike being ridden in the area around the Winton quarry in late November 2011 and early June 2012.

The case will head back to court in September but anyone with information that could assist detectives is urged to contact Tamworth police.

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