Police snare Waikato robbers

Three men face charges of attempted murder following a two-month long police investigation into a series of aggravated robberies across the Waikato.

A large team of police conducted searches of properties around Hamilton from first light this morning, district crime manager, Detective Inspector Karl Thornton, said.

The searches were part of the termination phase of Operation Ollivier, a two-month long investigation into seven aggravated robberies earlier this year.

They involved the use of firearms earlier and included the robbery of the Frankton TAB in April and the Still Working Bar in May.

"So far 20 people have been arrested including five females and face a variety of charges including three men charged with attempted murder, and this trio and two other men have also been charged with being members of an organised criminal group."

Thornton regarded it as a ''major success'' due to ''dogged determination'' from police.

Others facing prosecution include six juveniles arrested for an aggravated robbery on Hamilton's Holland Rd and three offenders arrested for robberies in the Coromandel.

Thornton said a variety of weapons were recovered in the searches of 15 properties, including two BB guns, two rifles and two shotguns.

"Because of the serious nature of the offences and the risks posed to the public, the searches were conducted with the assistance of the Waikato Armed Offenders Squad and the recovery of the firearms indicates those safety concerns were well justified.

"Enquiries are still continuing into the robberies and police have not ruled out further arrests or charges."

Thornton said the results backed up police tactics of applying a whole of policing approach to serious crime.

"Offenders need to know that under the Prevention First and Policing Excellence models police are able to apply a whole of district response to serious crime.

The Ollivier investigation team involved 15 investigators from across the Waikato Police District, supported by a large number of other specialist staff.

Waikato Times