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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Sam Rigney

'Shots fired': the dangerous way this crook tried to get police to back off

Newcastle courthouse.

OUT on bail and on the run from the cops, Cameron McKenzie climbed into the tray of a moving ute and began firing a rifle in a bid to get the police who were following him to give up.

McKenzie, 27, and Brittany Alley, 24, had spent the week prior breaking into remote properties in the Upper Hunter and stealing guns and cars.

They were wanted by the police, who called in PolAIr to observe from above while the stolen Toyota Landcruiser ute travelled from Muswellbrook to Scone and then north up the New England Highway into Murrurundi and Ardglen.

It was on Swinging Ridges Road, between Ardglen and Big Jacks Creek, with police following about 500 metres behind, that McKenzie climbed onto the tray of the Landcruiser and began firing rounds from the firearm in a dangerous and desperate bid to get away.

Police had purposely been following McKenzie and Alley from a distance when the shots were fired and were not actively pursuing them, according to court documents.

Police had earlier tried to intercept the stolen Landcruiser as it left McDonald's at Scone, but the car collided with a police vehicle and took off.

After firing the shots, PolAir picked up the occupants of the stolen car throwing items, including another firearm, out onto the road.

PolAir watched as the car pulled onto a property at Little Jacks Creek and McKenzie and Alley got out and hid in bushland.

The pair were arrested in the early hours of the morning when police found them hiding under piles of timber. Nearby was a shortened firearm and ammunition.

McKenzie and Alley appeared in Newcastle Local Court last week and together pleaded guilty to a total of 35 offences, including discharging a firearm with intent to resist arrest, police pursuit, using an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention, multiple counts of break and enter and driving while disqualified.

The pair, who both remain behind bars, will next appear in Newcastle District Court next month to get a sentence date.

McKenzie first came to the attention of police in April last year when he overtook a police car at speed on the Hunter Expressway at Buchanan.

A check of the car revealed the number plates were stolen and police tried to pull it over. But McKenzie took off, triggering a pursuit that reached speeds of 170km/h.

The pursuit led from Buchanan to Minmi and then Cameron Park, where McKenzie drove onto the wrong side of the road and police had to terminate the chase.

A short time later, the car was spotted in a shopping centre car park at Edgeworth and McKenzie was arrested at gunpoint.

He was charged, but later granted bail and between June 14 and his arrest in the Upper Hunter on June 21, he broke into a number of remote properties at Blanford, Gundy and Timor, raiding a gun safe at one property.

But the break-in at Gundy would be the beginning of the end, with a witness spotting the "suspicious" vehicle and taking down the number plate.

Once the guns were reported stolen, police kept an eye out for the car and asked PolAir to keep track of it after it was spotted at Muswellbrook.

From there they watched as the car headed north up the New England Highway before McKenzie fired the shots and the pair were arrested.

To see more stories and read today's paper download the Newcastle Herald news app here.

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