A “CORE group of kids” are believed to have torched homes, cars and grassland in West Tamworth as police home in on those behind more than 50 suspicious fires.
Detectives warn they’re set to target the suspected firebugs after a major arson investigation which has seen police doorknock more than 800 homes in just three days in Coledale and West Tamworth.
Strike Force Laden – a major Oxley police and arson squad operation – has seen dozens of police scour the area since Wednesday, with officers now armed with a list of suspects.
“We believe there is a core group of young people that are linked to the majority of the crimes that have been reported,” Oxley Detective Sergeant Jason Darcy told The Leader on Friday.
“We know who they are and they will be targeted.
“We have developed a number of strategies to target those offenders and investigations will continue.”
Detective Sergeant Darcy said they had received overwhelming support from the community as part of their investigation into the suspicious fires that have erupted in the area since late last year.
We know who they are and they will be targeted.Oxley Detective Sergeant Jason Darcy
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He said officers had “received a bit of resistance from a minority in the West Tamworth community”.
Police called for the teenagers to hand themselves in and talk to detectives, and also put parents on notice.
“Our message to those parents is that they have to take some responsibility for their children’s actions, their welfare is paramount and they need to know the whereabouts of these children at night,” Detective Sergeant Darcy said.
“And this is not just a police matter, this needs a whole-of-community response if we are to stop this dangerous behaviour.
“We want to work with the local council, housing departments and other government agencies like Centrelink to address these issues fuelling the crimes.”
Strike Force Laden investigations will continue with more operations planned in the coming weeks.