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May 8, 2021

Police allege Casino business involved in car rebirthing

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Police have applied to the court to have a business near Casino which they allege is involved in car rebirthing and stolen property shut down.

In November 2016, State Crime Command Property Squad officers and Richmond Target Action Group police conducted a business inspection of a Leeville property, south-west of Casino, under the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Dealers and Repairers Act.

During the inspection, owner Jerome Burston said he was aware of new laws under the Scrap Metal Industry Act that would come into effect on March 1, 2017, court documents stated.

Strike Force Coquette was formed in January 2017 to investigate stolen property and motor vehicle rebirthing offences at a Clearfield property, south-west of Casino, owned by Mr Burston.

Jim Williams was identified as a business partner of Mr Burston during the investigation in which police used covert methods to obtain evidence, before Mr Burston was charged with serious property offences including knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and facilitating car rebirthing on an organised basis.

Mr Burston was released on conditional bail not to attend the Clearfield property.

Richmond Target Action Group officers inspected the Clearfield property on July 20, under the provisions of the Scrap Metal Industry Act of 2016 and spoke to an excavator driver.

While police were at the property, Mr Williams arrived wanting to know why officers were there.

Officers requested Mr Williams supply a copy of his scrap metal licence and he allegedly stated that he applied for one , then shortly after he disclosed he had not applied for any licence.

Checks by police via the Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate showed Mr Burston and Mr Williams had not applied for, or were issued, any licences required by the act.

Mr Williams was issued with an infringement notice by police for ‘deal in scrap metal business not registered.’

Police then applied for and were granted an interim closure order under section 17(1) of the Scrap Metal Industry Act of 2016, which was in place for 72 hours.

‘Police are of the belief that Burston and Williams are profiting from the sale of scrap metal, namely scrapped motor vehicles, without any licence or business registration,’ court documents said.

‘Police respectively request a long-term closure order for the property.’

On Monday at Lismore Local Court, Magistrate R Dene adjourned the matters until September 18.

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