Fresh fingerprint matches of fugitive Malcolm Naden has placed police on high alert for any reports of break-ins at remote properties from the Barrington Tops to Kempsey.
The state’s most wanted man is believed to be hiding along a long strip of remote bushland, hopping between well-hidden campsites to avoid questioning over the suspected murders of two women in Dubbo more than six years ago.
The latest break-ins linked to Naden occurred west of Kempsey in April.
It follows the Newcastle Herald revealing last year that Naden, an expert bushman and former abattoir worker, was responsible for more than 20 burglaries of remote farmhouses east and north of the Barrington Tops.
But senior police have ordered that all new leads on Naden be kept from the public, with the homicide squad failing in numerous attempts to hunt down the fugitive since he evaded capture near Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo in 2005.
Police remain nervous about Naden’s movements through the Hunter, with four patrol cars racing to a remote property at Wards River, near Gloucester, on Thursday after a resident suspected someone was in his roof.
The resident had returned home to find a manhole open and raised the alarm.
Police did not find anything, but the fact that four cars travelled more than an hour to get to the scene suggests how important senior police regard his arrest.
Naden is suspected of being involved in the disappearance of his cousin Lateesha Nolan in early 2005, and the murder of Kristy Scholes about six months later.