Two men appear in court over attempted murder of bikie boss

TWO men have appeared in court this afternoon charged with the attempted murder of Gladiators bikie boss Frank Van Der Kroft.

Grant Welsh did not enter a plea and did not apply for bail when he faced Cessnock Local Court.

His case was adjourned to Newcastle Local Court next Wednesday.

Mr Welsh, 35, was dressed in high-visibility work clothes and nodded to a supporter in the court as he was escorted by five police officers.

His alleged accomplice, Andrew Craig Pickering, 40, also did not apply for bail when he briefly faced Raymond Terrace Local Court.

Mr Pickering, of Ballydoyle Drive, Ashtonfield, will appear in Newcastle Local Court on December 19.

It follows dawn raids on properties at Ashtonfield and Rutherford this morning by specialist police.

Both men are former members of the Gladiators.

Strike Force Nevarda was set up involving detectives from Hunter Valley and Central Hunter commands to investigate the shooting of Mr Van Der Kroft as he rode his motorcycle along Wine Country Drive at North Rothbury on July 22. 

Mr Van Der Kroft has since recovered from suffering four bullet wounds in the chest and stomach.

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