Police have arrested a Tinamba man and Bairnsdale man after they allegedly causing significant damage to critical infrastructure across East Gippsland.

Detectives from the East Gippsland Crime Investigation Unit (CIU) allege the men used firearms to damage at least eight power transformers in Fernbank, Lindenow South and Munro areas between September and October 2021.

It’s alleged the men fired gunshots at the transformers, causing more than $100,000 of significant damage to critical infrastructure as well as causing undue distress to the community through disruptions to internet and power services.

Following an extensive investigation, two men were arrested and are collectively facing 62 charges:

• A 24-year-old Tinamba man was arrested and charged with use firearm in a public place, use firearm to damage property, use firearm in a dangerous manner and criminal damage. He was bailed to face Bairnsdale Magistrates’ Court on August 2

• A 24-year-old Bairnsdale man was arrested and charged with use firearm in a public place, use firearm to damage property, use firearm in a dangerous manner and criminal damage. He was bailed to face Bairnsdale Magistrates’ Court on August 2

“While some may think this is a victimless crime – significant damage to critical infrastructure can cause distress and disruption to the community through the loss of internet and power services,” said Victoria Police Detective Senior Constable Brendan Keane – East Gippsland Crime Investigation Unit.

“Police will continue to use all available methods at our disposal to reduce the impact illicit firearms have on the community, remove these weapons from the hands of criminals and place offenders before the courts.”

This week’s arrests follow multiple search warrants at residential addresses in Bairnsdale and Tinamba where police seized multiple firearms, ammunition, a silencer, and other weapons.