Police moved fast after the bowling club robbery. Three men were arrested on Wednesday night and a fourth yesterday.
Police moved fast after the bowling club robbery. Three men were arrested on Wednesday night and a fourth yesterday. JERAD WILLIAMS

Saffin's son charged over hold-up

THE son of Federal Page MPJanelle Saffin has been arrested for armed robbery following a terrifying hold-up in Lismore allegedly committed with three other men on Wednesday night.

Two men armed with a rifle smashed their way into East Lismore Bowling Club just after closing, holding a barmaid at gunpoint and escaping with $5000 cash with two other men who waited outside.

It appears some of the men fled on foot and some by car.

Police were quickly on the scene arresting one man acting suspiciously in a car in Clarice Street a short time later and another on foot in Wyrallah Road shortly after that.

Following investigations, detectives raided a house in Phyllis Street, South Lismore, in the early hours of yesterday morning arresting a third man and recovering the cash.

Edward John Saffin, 26, and Joshua Southgate, 22, both of South Lismore, and Kristopher William Smith, 24, of Lismore, appeared in the Lismore Local Court yesterday on two armed robbery charges.

Only Smith applied for bail and all were remanded in custody to reappear in September.

The fourth man, Shaun Thomas Peckham, 24, of Goonellabah, was arrested at 10am yesterday at a residence in McDermott Avenue, Goonellabah. He was found hiding under a bed and was arrested and also charged. He chose not to appear in court or apply for bail.

At 1.30pm yesterday, police executed a further search warrant at Saffin’s Cromer Street home in South Lismore and an amount of property was seized.

Saffin’s lawyer asked that his client’s name be suppressed. He said Saffin had been examined by a doctor who thought he had a possible psychotic illness and was concerned that publication of his name would exacerbate that illness.

Magistrate Robyn Denes said there was no legal basis for non publication and saw no reason why Saffin should be treated differently.

The court was told that the men had smoked cannabis and discussed robbing a drug dealer.

They had then gone to the East Lismore Bowling Club, armed with a loaded .22 calibre rifle.

Saffin shouted from the dock: “Can someone f---ing shoot me and get this over and done with.”

Saffin’s father was in court and when his son called out, ‘I love you dad’, he replied that he loved him too.

Then Saffin stood in the doorway, held out his hands and called to his father:

“Get me out of this situation. I haven’t f---ing done anything.”

Richmond Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Inspector Greg Moore, fronted the media yesterday after working through the night on the robbery.

“Thanks to the good work of patrolling officers we apprehended two persons not far from the location shortly after the incident,” he said. “Further inquiries led us to the Phyllis Street address in the early hours of the morning.

“It is definitely a concern that these types of incidents occurred in a normally peaceful location.

“This goes out as a warning to any would be perpetrators of these types of crimes that we take it very seriously.

“We have very switched on police at this command and look out if you’re thinking of bunging on this sort of caper.”

Club manager Kevin Junee was still coming to terms with the ordeal yesterday and said it was the first such incident they could remember at the historic club.

“The club was locked down. I mean it was closed, locked, nothing was open and they brazenly walked up to the door and used the rifle butt to smash the glass,” he said.

“When you’re in a small quiet community it’s always a shock to be violated like this.

“The important thing is the staff are safe. It’s been a very traumatic time and we’re organising counselling for our staff member now.

“We’ve done all we can do and the police have just been fantastic on all fronts. All the staff have said the same thing.

“Having a gun pointed at you and been told to give over your money ... we think we can imagine what it’s like, but we really don’t.”


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