Police arrest Cessnock man for alleged theft of Nissan Patrol four wheel drive vehicles

A Hunter man has been charged after a number of Nissan Patrol SUVs and associated parts were stolen from various parts of the state.

The 18-year-old from Cessnock was charged with seven offences, including motor vehicle theft, theft from motor vehicle, goods in custody, fraud and trespass.

Police claim the man was part of an organised crime syndicate in the Hunter targeting four-wheel-drive vehicles and Nissan Patrols in particular.

The offences date back to February when items stolen from a car were used in a fraud offence at Cardiff.

But police only connected the man to vehicle and car part theft offences from July onward.

A Nissan Patrol was stolen from Cardiff South on July 6, followed two weeks later by another Nissan Patrol theft at Wingham on the mid-north coast.

Police also charged the man in relation to the alleged possession of Nissan Patrol parts stolen from Kellyville in Sydney on October 14, theft of Nissan Patrol parts from Fassifern on October 28 and a trespassing offence on November 29.

The arrest was part of a vehicle theft operation being led by Central Hunter detectives called Strike Force Luchetti.

The operation was formed in September in response to the high number of vehicle thefts in the Central Hunter and Lake Macquarie, which were the two worst commands in the state for the crime in the 2016/17 financial year.

Police have charged 27 people as part of the operation and recovered 21 stolen vehicles.

Since the implementation of Luchetti, vehicle theft has dropped 20 per cent on the first seven months of the year.

The operation is ongoing, and Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector George Radmore said any information would be gladly accepted by police.

“We’re always seeking information from the public on the theft and re-birthing of stolen vehicles,” he said.

Information should be reported to Maitland detectives or Crime Stoppers.