Blackbutt Reserve robbery: Newcastle council upgrades security, reptile shows to make comeback

NEWCASTLE City Council is ramping up security at Blackbutt Reserve after its reptile collection was stolen.

The security upgrades include the installation of CCTV cameras, sensors and security bars on the doors and windows of the after-hours reptile enclosure, which was ransacked on October 1, with 14 reptiles swiped. One reptile was stolen the night before.

The investigation is ongoing.

However, Newcastle council interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said on Friday the “substantial” security upgrades would ward off future thieves.

Mr Bath also said the popular reptile show would make a comeback before Christmas, thanks to the donation of 30 reptiles.

“Newcastle City Council has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the response from the public and is working hard to expedite the return of our popular wildlife shows,” he said.

“We will accept many of the generous offers from the community as well as buy additional animals to improve our collection. 

“We’re also substantially enhancing security to ensure another theft doesn’t take place. For example, metal window mesh is being replaced with welded bars. And if in future they somehow got through the bars, sensors will be triggered that will immediately tip off police.”

Blackbutt co-ordinator Brad West said he was confident the reptiles shows would make a return for Christmas.

“I would like to extend a big thank you to the community on behalf of the whole Blackbutt team,” Mr West said.

Phone Newcastle City detectives on 4929 0999 if you have information about the reptile theft.