Alstonville Cellars manager Dave Ryan (rear) and assistant manager Ben Marpeth clearing up after thieves staged a ram-raid on t
Alstonville Cellars manager Dave Ryan (rear) and assistant manager Ben Marpeth clearing up after thieves staged a ram-raid on t

Police chase after ram-raid

By ALEX EASTON, aeaston@northernstar.com.au

STOLEN bottles of alcohol were hurled at a police car soon before it crashed during a high-speed chase near Wardell yesterday morning.

Richmond Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Bill McKenna said two Ballina police officers were taken to Ballina Hospital with minor injuries after their car rolled during the pursuit.

The chase began after police spotted a van allegedly stolen from Goonellabah and used by thieves to smash through the doors of the Alstonville Cellars bottle shop about 1am yesterday.

The thieves are alleged to have stolen bottles of spirits and cigarettes after smashing the van nearly two metres into the shop.

Insp McKenna said a Ballina police general duties car and a detectives car chased the van through back roads between Alstonville and Wardell. At one point, people in the van began throwing the bottles of spirits at the police.

Some time later the general duties car went off the road and rolled several times.

Ambulance officers treated the two police at the scene before taking them to Ballina Hospital. They were released soon after with scratches and bruises. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Detectives, backed by highway patrol police, continued the chase on foot after the van stopped and its five occupants fled.

Two males, a 19-year-old Cabbage Tree Island man and a 17-year-old Goonellabah teenager, have been charged with aggravated break and enter, using a weapon to prevent lawful detention and travelling in a stolen vehicle.

The two fronted Ballina Local Court, with the elder of the two granted bail, but put on a 9pm to 6am curfew.

The teenager pleaded not guilty on all counts, but did not apply for bail. He was remanded in custody until they both appear again on August 12.

Police were still searching for the other three people involved and appealed to the public for help.

If you have information call police on 66818699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000



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