William Ross Burgess and Hayden John Whitney charged with fresh offences after Tamworth crime spree

Out of action: Part of the playground where the cables were cut still remains fenced off from the public, more than a month after the alleged acts. Photo: Peter Hardin
Out of action: Part of the playground where the cables were cut still remains fenced off from the public, more than a month after the alleged acts. Photo: Peter Hardin

POLICE have laid new charges against two of the men accused of a one-night crime spree across Tamworth that has forced the closure of part of the city’s main playground.

The Leader can reveal William Ross Burgess and Hayden John Whitney are facing a combined 16 charges now after the new offences were laid in court.

The 19-year-olds fronted Tamworth Local Court on Monday for the first time since they handed themselves in to police following a public appeal – the day after the alleged spree.

They stand accused of a raft of charges including using bolt cutters to cut cables at the Tamworth Regional Playground, as well as torching a bin, breaking into Bunnings Warehouse and also stealing a trailer.

Burgess’ solicitor Garry Johnston said he was aware of the two new charges against his client, and had already made representations to police on the charges of aggravated break-and-enter at council’s shipping container and storage shed in Kable Ave, as well as a charge of entering a dwelling in company with intent to steal.

He said “those representations have been received favourably”.

Out of action: Part of the playground where the cables were cut still remains fenced off from the public, more than a month after the alleged acts. Photo: Peter Hardin

Out of action: Part of the playground where the cables were cut still remains fenced off from the public, more than a month after the alleged acts. Photo: Peter Hardin

“The charges are not sustainable,” he told the court. 

“I anticipate them being withdrawn and replaced with damaging property matters.”

Mr Johnston said he needed four weeks to settle the representations and also obtain medical evidence for Burgess.

I anticipate them being withdrawn and replaced with damaging property matters.

Solicitor Garry Johnston

The teen pair, who both live in Quirindi, were flanked by family.

As part of their bail conditions, they’re prohibited from contacting one another and are under curfews.

Solicitor Stephen O’Reilly asked for an adjournment for the representations to be considered and to get instructions on the new charge.

Magistrate Roger Prowse granted both teens a four-week adjournment but said pleas must be entered in July.

“Pleas to be entered on the next occasion, your bail’s to continue,” he told them.

According to court documents, the pair allegedly caused between $15,000-$40,000 damage at the Tamworth Regional Playground by cutting cables for the skywalk.

Pleas to be entered on the next occasion, your bail’s to continue.

Magistrate Roger Prowse

The alleged incidents occurred on between May 15 and into the early hours of May 16.

Police allege the pair also trespassed at the botanical gardens, destroyed a council padlock, as well as garbage bin at the Tamworth Lookout.

The teens also allegedly stole a $1500 6x4 box trailer from Tamworth Shoppingworld and then dumped it a few blocks away.

Whitney is also accused of destroying a padlock at Supercheap Auto and breaking into a fenced storage yard at Bunnings Warehouse in Taminda on the same night.

A third juvenile co-accused, who cannot be identified, remains on bail to front court.