The remains of the fire at the tow truck and car wrecking business in Elliott Rd, South Lismore.
The remains of the fire at the tow truck and car wrecking business in Elliott Rd, South Lismore. Jay Cronan

Police target tow trucks

POLICE will target the local tow trucking industry through a series of compliance operations after two businesses owned by one Lismore tow truck operator were burned down this month.

On February 10, a commercial shed housing Cheepa Towing and Salvage on Lockett St was gutted in a suspicious fire.

Six days later, another commercial shed, which acted as a car workshop on Elliott Rd at South Lismore, was also burnt down in a pre-dawn blaze.

Five cars were destroyed and 300 tyres.

The fires caused about $100,000 worth of damage.

Both premises were operated by Matt Bidner, a Lismore-based tow truck operator of eight years.

In response, police announced they would crack down on tow truck businesses in conjunction with the Roads and Maritime Service's Tow Truck Authority.

"The fires obviously involved a local tow truck operator and this is a component of our response," Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Moore said.

"We are following a number of lines of inquiry and have been liaising with the tow truck licensing and compliance unit.

"We are aware there are operations pending in relation to local compliance with the tow truck industry and we anticipate further compliance operations."

A local towie who contacted The Northern Star in frustration said contrary to the belief that there was a "tow truck war" raging in Lismore, everyone got along fine.

The Northern Star received phone calls from readers who claimed the Elliott Rd structure that burnt down last week was subject to numerous complaints.

That the complaints to Lismore council, were centred on the inappropriate use of the premises as a car wreckers.

Council would not confirm such complaints nor what the approved use of the shed was.

"Council understands the matter is subject to a police investigation and we are therefore unable to comment," a council spokeswoman said.

Anyone with information regarding either fire is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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