Strike Force Burril: Shane Alan Kember, Warren Barry Ayre, Robbin John King to stand trial for drug and firearm supply

Massive operation: Strike Force Burril detectives raid a Gunnedah home in September, last year, as part of a series of rolling search warrants. Photo: Vanessa Hohnke
Massive operation: Strike Force Burril detectives raid a Gunnedah home in September, last year, as part of a series of rolling search warrants. Photo: Vanessa Hohnke

AN EX-POLICE officer as well as two other men will stand trial charged with dozens of firearm and drug-related offences.

Shane Alan Kember, Warren Barry Ayre and Robbin John King were arrested as part of Strike Force Burrell – a massive and secret police operation led by Oxley police to target drug supply.

The trio waived their right to test evidence at a contested committal hearing in Tamworth Local Court, and instead chose to head straight to trial – a year after they were arrested.

The police operation saw 38 firearms as well as explosives, a grenade and pre-cursor chemicals seized during coordinated raids carried out at addresses in the Gunnedah region, Lake Macquarie and Kembla Grange.

Kember, a former officer, will stand trial on six charges of possessing an unauthorised firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm, supplying cannabis, knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime, namely a Toyota Landcruiser, and supplying a pistol.

“There is a five-volume brief which I have to tender and I tender that,” a solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) told the court.

Trial: Shane Alan Kember.

Trial: Shane Alan Kember.

Kember remains on conditional bail to live in Dapto, near Woolongong, and will front court again in October.

Police raided a Farm Rd home in Kembla Grange on September 1, last year, and allege they discovered two .22 calibre rifles, two .308 calibre rifles, one of which was shortened, one .308 rifle and one .300 rifle, as well as an amount of cannabis.

Police also allege between June 11 and his arrest date, Kember supplied an unknown person with a Ruger Mark One semi-automatic pistol.

Ayre, who remains in custody at Mid North Coast, appeared via video link in court.

Magistrate Roger Prowse slammed the actions of the Crown after charges still weren’t served a fortnight after he awarded $3,000 in costs to Legal Aid for the delays.

Trial: Warren Barry Ayre.

Trial: Warren Barry Ayre.

“Charges six and seven still haven’t been filed,” he said examining the papers.

“Still I don’t mind putting it over and another $3,000 of public money wasted.”

He said it “was an embarrassment” the charges weren’t filed correctly with the court before committing Ayre for trial on six gun and manufacturing drug-related charges, including supplying pistol parts.

“Look at that one year and five days after the matter came before the court,” he said.

King, who is being held in custody in Wellington, will stand trial on six charges including manufacturing drugs, supplying cannabis and supplying a firearm.

King and Ayre made no application for bail and remain behind bars ahead of their trial.