Seventeen grave sites have been smashed after a wild police pursuit that ended in a cemetery in Maitland's western suburbs.
A 37-year-old Greta man has been charged with seven offences in relation to the police chase and reckless damage of the cemetery in Telarah on Saturday night.
Police allege the grave sites were damaged by a Toyota Camry that lost control on South Street about 10.30pm.
Police first spotted the Camry when it was stopped on the New England Highway at Rutherford. The car was suspected as being stolen as the number plates allegedly matched a Holden Commodore.
Officers approached the driver, who then allegedly took off.
Police chased the vehicle through several residential streets in Rutherford and Telarah before one of the Camry's tyres deflated.
Police said the driver tried to turn right into South Street, but lost control of the car at speed and crashed through the fence of Campbells Hill Cemetery at Telarah.
Maitland police officer in charge Chief Inspector Glenn Blain said the car careered about 30 metres into the cemetery and knocked over 17 grave sites.
It is alleged that the driver then got out of the car and ran onto a nearby rail corridor.
Police established a perimetre in the area and called in the dog squad to help find the man.
After a short search, a police dog tracked a man to a vacant patch of land near Maitland Bunnings.
Police also searched the Camry, where they claim to have found a small amount of a crystal substance, believed to be methamphetamine (ice).
Chief Inspector Blain said witnesses may have spotted a helicopter in the area at the time, however it was not a police helicopter and was not related to the police operation.
The 37-year-old man was arrested and taken to Maitland Police Station.
He was charged with seven offences including police pursuit (Skye's Law), driving a conveyance without the consent of the driver, driving while disqualified, a registration plates offence, dangerous driving, possess prohibited drug and trespassing on a rail corridor.
The man was denied bail in Newcastle Local Court on Sunday.
His matter will be heard in local court again on Monday in Maitland.