Residents Living In Fear Of 'Pseudo Halfway House'
Driving through the leafy backstreets of Epping, it’s not all that common to see a team of public order riot police, a dozen undercover detectives and the dog squad preparing for a raid.
But on Tuesday that’s exactly what we saw.
The boys in blue marched into the property on Chesterfield Road armed with a battering ram and a crow bar.
Were they about to bust open a sophisticated crime-ring? Uncover an arsenal of weapons or an international money laundering syndicate?
No. The 20 or-so police were in fact responding to a growing fear among residents that the property had become an unofficial halfway house for low-end criminals.
“We are here in support of the community,” Detective Inspector Glyn Baker told 10 News First during the raid.
“There’s been some concerns about the residents of this house; they are known to police.”
The main occupant, Nathan Lang, lost his mother Jill last November and inherited the Epping home.
He’s since opened it up to his mates, with some even using it as their parole address.
But neighbours have reported all the comings-and-goings to police saying they’re now living in fear.
So on Tuesday Lang was served with a firearms prohibition order and his property was searched.
Inside they found four occupants who were “moved-on”, including 26-year-old Nash Elmer.
“I got woken up by 12 police officers; they grabbed me and walked me out in my undies,” he said confused by all the fuss.
“Never once have we been (involved in drugs), maybe a bit of marijuana here and there, but I don’t see a reason for that many police, you know what I mean?”
Another older man was also kicked out of the property but he said he was only there to “pick up some golf clubs”.
The other two claimed they were just visiting and that the raid was a form of harassment.
But, even during the police operation, a 25-year-old man jumped the back fence allegedly in possession of stolen goods.
He was arrested and taken to Ryde Police Station.
“This behaviour is not acceptable… and we’ll continue to investigate what’s been happening at the address,” Inspector Baker added.