The NSW Police Rescue and Bomb Disposal squad was tasked to Coffs Harbour from Sydney last year to dismantle the device.
The NSW Police Rescue and Bomb Disposal squad was tasked to Coffs Harbour from Sydney last year to dismantle the device.

Praise for officers who stopped man carrying bomb, shotgun

IN August last year, two Traffic and Highway Patrol officers spotted an unregistered Ford Hatchback driving erratically through the streets of Urunga, south of Coffs Harbour.

Inside the vehicle was a homemade pipe bomb and fuse, a loaded sawn-off .22 shotgun, a double barrel shotgun and illicit drugs.

At the steering wheel was Bellingen man Ben Charles Thompson, who it was later found was driving under the influence of drugs.

Thompson had been stopped by seasoned officers Senior Const. Wallace Brooks and Senior Const. Mark Whittaker, who have this week been commended for their display of courage in arresting Thompson.

Superintendent Steve Clarke and Senior Constable Wallace Brooks.
Superintendent Steve Clarke and Senior Constable Wallace Brooks.

When they had attempted to handcuff him, he became violent.

The officers managed to subdue Thompson and he was later charged with a string of offences including possessing an explosive device.

A bomb squad was flown in from Sydney to dismantle the device.

Thompson plead guilty to the charges and was slapped with a two-year Intensive Correction Order in May this year.

He was also disqualified from driving for two years and is required to comply with rehab programs.

Superintendent Steve Clarke and Senior Constable Mark Whittaker.
Superintendent Steve Clarke and Senior Constable Mark Whittaker.

The officers were celebrated for their efforts at the Coffs/Clarence Police District Awards Ceremony held in Coffs Harbour yesterday.

Family, friends and colleagues watched on as they were commended by Superintendent Steve Clarke, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys and Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell.