Stolen tanker pursuit heads to court

A MELBOURNE Magistrates Court has been told a Maffra man, who allegedly led police on a two-hour pursuit driving a stolen milk tanker, has an intellectual disability.

Maurice Collie, 20, is facing seven charges over the incident in the early hours of Saturday morning when he allegedly stole a tanker loaded with 22,000 litres of milk from a transport yard in Fulton Rd, Maffra.

The man was charged with theft of a motor vehicle and evading police following the pursuit on the Princes and Monash freeways.

The pursuit continued for just under two hours and ended when the truck came to a stop on the Police Rd off ramp.

The man was also charged with reckless conduct endangering life, theft of 22,000 litres of milk, failing to stop and other traffic offences.

Police allege the vehicle was taken by two local men, a 20-year-old and a 60-year-old Traralgon man, about 3.50am Saturday morning from a business premises in Fulton Rd.

It was reported stolen after owners noticed it on the road through their GPS tracking system, which showed it was on the Princes Highway on the Sale side of Morwell.

Police followed, and when the driver refused to pull over, a pursuit commenced in the Yarragon area, reaching speeds of between 60 and 80 kmh.

Police said they unsuccessfully attempted to stop the vehicle at Nar Nar Goon and again at Stud Rd.

They allege when the vehicle did eventually stop at the Police Rd off ramp, the men refused to get out, and police smashed a window before making their arrests.

The men were taken into custody at Dandenong.

Collie appeared in court on Monday for a filing hearing where his lawyer Amanda Vasiliou told Magistrate Kay Robertson her client suffered from an intellectual disability.

Ms Vasiliou said this was Collie’s first time in custody and indicated he would apply for bail on Thursday ahead of a committal mention at Bairnsdale Magistrates Court on November 21.

The 60-year-old man from Traralgon is reportedly in Dandenong Hospital with a broken hip which was allegedly sustained during the arrest.

Sen-Sgt Danny O’Sullivan told reporters police had no motive for the alleged theft, but believed it was not just a joy ride.

He describe it as “unusual” for a milk tanker to be taken and driven all the way from the Sale area to the metropolitan area, adding there was “no use crying over spilt milk”.

The milk is believed to have been transferred to another tanker.