Operation Fragor: miners and farmers given chance at explosives amnesty

IF you are a coal miner or farmer – or related to one – now might be the right time to clean out the old sheds.

A six-month amnesty was formally announced on Tuesday amid concerns that an unknown amount of old and dangerous explosives have made their way into residential properties.

The Commercial Explosives Amnesty, which ends in September, includes old fireworks and gelignite sticks as well as commercial explosives.

“In recent years we have had an increased number of requests for the destruction of commercial explosives which have been found in the community,’’ counter terrorism and special tactics commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch, said.

“In some cases explosives were found in deceased estates or discovered in police operations and there was a need for members of the public to surrender these explosives in a safe and legal manner.

“The amnesty is a way of encouraging community members to contact police for the disposal of explosives in their possession or held on their residential properties.”

“Those in the community we are targeting, as part of the amnesty, may be committing offences by possessing such explosives.

“Apart from being illegal, the explosives can be dangerous as they become older and more unstable.”

Those who have the explosives are urged not to move them but contact police and allow them to decide what to do.

Chief Superintendent John Stapleton, also of the counter terrorism and special tactics command, said the Hunter was one region on the radar for the amnesty.  

“People can end up storing all sorts of things in their sheds,’’ Mr Stapleton said.

“They may have been involved in mining and, particularly in the rural areas, some old cockies used to blow up old tree stumps and build fences with these types of things.

“If you find them, don’t move them, let us know and we will take it from there.’’

The amnesty runs until September 14.