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The Rebels bikie gang clubhouse at Darwin River.
The Rebels bikie gang clubhouse at Darwin River.

Rebels outlaw bikie gang no longer have serious presence in Darwin

THE Rebels outlaw bikie gang is all but extinct in the Top End, five years after the notorious criminal enterprise announced itself with the brazen robbery of fire arms from a naval vessel.

At its peak, the Rebels boasted upwards of 40 members, but now only three of the gang’s older generation remain bearing its colours.

Since the jailing of former Sergeant-at-Arms Shannon Althouse and President Andy Summerfield the Rebels activity and infighting has all but ceased.

The gang’s demise coincided with a specialised squad within the Organised Crime and Drugs Unit which prioritised Rebels investigations.

Infighting and power battles continually plagued the Rebels, including the theft of three vests bearing the Rebels insignia — including the president’s vest — from a Virginia home in January 2016.

In 2012, pistols and pump-action shot guns worth about $8000 were stolen from a naval ship HMAS Bathurst by a former sailor who claimed he was pressured into the theft by Rebels members.

Last month, Althouse was found guilty for possessing 820g of cannabis and was jailed for two years.

Detective Senior-Sergeant Mark Stringer said the gang had been dismantled following a “zero tolerance” approach from police to member’s indiscretions.

“We took largely a zero tolerance approach with them, enforcing the law and traffic rules with them,” he said.

“Also, with the offences they were committing we had a dedicated unit within the gangs taskforce to co-ordinate everything to do with them and to make it a priority, the assaults they were committing and the drugs they were dealing.

“At the moment in the local bikie scene they are pretty much non-existent.”

Since the Rebels established its Darwin chapter, Sen-Sgt Stringer said countless members have been bashed, had bikes seized by the gang as punishment and been forced to pay club fines.

He said police told potential members the stories of disgruntled members to try and persuade them from joining the gang.

“I’ve seen a few people that have gone into that and lost their motorbike and lost money.

“The message we put out that if you are a motorcycle enthusiast then there are other places for you to go, like social clubs. I’d like to think we've saved a few genuine motorcycle riders from the pain associated with getting involved with the Rebels.

“They’ve come to the realisation that Darwin doesn’t want them. It’s taken them a while to learn that and it’s been a hard lesson learnt and a lot of blokes have gone to jail and blokes have been bashed and some have lost their motorbikes.”

A stand in president from Tasmania attempted to stabilise the chapter after Althouse and Summerfield’s incarceration, but police were unsure if he remained in Darwin.

However, with the Rebels presence declining, Sen-Sgt Stringer said the rival Hells Angels gang had begun recruiting new prospects in a bid to expand its footprint.

“They are still an outlaw motorcycle gang well known around the world for their drug dealing and violence and we are certainly keeping a close eye on them and monitoring the situation.”