Caught in the cross-hairs

Cranbourne East resident Dion Watling displays his dummy that he says he had set up in his backyard with arrows sticking out of it to deter intruders after his shed was broken into multiple times in recent months. 177524_01.Picture: BRENDAN REES

By Brendan Rees

A group of Cranbourne East residents infamously featured on national media have denied claims that they are vigilantes or part of a ‘No Fear’ gang.
It comes after police raided two properties following the airing of an A Current Affair (ACA) feature on Monday, 5 February which showed residents using deadly weapons such as a compound bow and nunchakus to protect themselves against a spate of burglaries.
Cranbourne Police Sergeant Graeme Pearce said a pair of nunchakus was among “multiple items” seized at one property on Tuesday evening, 6 February.
He said a Cranbourne man; aged about 50 years old was summons to court at a later date for weapons offences. Another male, he said, “had nothing of interest” to police.
A resident, Dion Watling, said he owned a compound bow but was “disgusted” by claims he was a human-hunter.
“I have a compound bow to go out rabbit hunting and deer hunting. That’s it. It’s not for turning around hunting humans.”
“If I was in fear of my life and I saw blokes coming towards my house with weapons, I would go for a butcher’s knife, a compound bow, whatever I’ve got to deter them,” Mr Watling said.
“If my life is in danger I will kill the b****** if I was left with no other alternative.”
“I’m not a violent person; never have been. I don’t want to use it (compound bow) and I dread the day that I have to.”
Mr Watling, who was taking legal action against ACA, said the ACA producer Luke Mortimer even tried to push him and the other neighbours in getting “together like we’re a big gang.”
“This bit about Wolf Creek being my favourite movie, that’s crap. They didn’t even ask me any of that s***,” he said.
Mr Watling said police raided his house on Tuesday evening, 6 February but they did not seize any items.
He said he patrolled the streets at night because of the lack of police presence but adds “I don’t carry any weapons with me.”
“We’re ringing the police and they’re not turning up. We do have people here that are petrified.”
Another resident named James, who asked not reveal his surname says he was made to look like a “buffoon” after displaying his nunchaku skills for the ACA cameras.
He said he only armed himself after having a puppy stolen from his property in recent months.
But he added police had seized his nunchakus on Tuesday, 6 February.
“People who watch A Current Affair are actually becoming stupider by watching the program,” he said.
A neighbour named Mel, who also asked not reveal her surname, says the ACA story was a “joke”.
“They cut out the bits to make it seem a lot different to what it is,” she said.
“There’s no gang activity, we don’t group up at night and go walk in the street and all of that.”

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