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NSW: Police fire tear gas to arrest pair in alleged hold-up plan<

17 Nov 2008 6:02 PM
By Andrew Drummond

SYDNEY, Nov 17 AAP - Police have fired tear gas through a car window to thwart a robbery and arrest two people after a string of Sydney armoured van hold-ups in the past 18 months.

Officers fired gas canisters into a vehicle at Kellyville in Sydney's northwest on Monday, arresting a 21-year-old man, and a 22-year-old woman, who they allege were planning to rob an armoured van.

The pair were expected to be charged with planning to steal from a van carrying cash to an automatic teller machine, while the man would also likely be charged over an armed robbery at Parramatta in June, police said.

"We believe the two offenders were intending another armed robbery, if not this morning, then in the coming days," Detective Superintendent Peter Cotter told reporters.

The arrests follow a long-running investigation into several armoured van hold-ups and robberies in Sydney.

"Today's operation is a successful outcome in what has been an extended investigation involving covert and physical surveillance of these two people,"Supt Cotter said.

He defended the nature of the arrests, which occurred early on Monday morning in a public car park, with officers firing gas canisters through the window of a car.

"We had to, obviously, use the appropriate force," Supt Cotter said.

"Today, no shots were fired, but what was utilised was what we deemed special weapons and tactics and, in effect, gas canisters were fired into the offending car and that certainly affected the arrest of the two people."

Strike Force Brittania (Brittania) was established in February 2007 to investigate more than 30 incidents across Sydney since last year.

The pair arrested on Monday morning are being questioned by detectives at Castle Hill police station.

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