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At least two women have been targeted in shootings as part of a bitter and escalating turf war between rival groups of bikies in Newcastle, with police fearing it is "only a matter of time" before an innocent member of the public is injured by the "unpredictable violence".
The women – one the former partner of a Nomads bikie, the other the de facto partner of a Finks member – were inside their homes in February and March this year when the houses were shot at by unknown assailants who fled into the night.
A list of shootings compiled by police, tendered to the Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday, reveals a high-powered rifle with "military-grade" .223-calibre rounds was used in one of the shootings, at Chisholm, while a shotgun and pistol was used in the other, at Gillieston Heights.
The incidents were divulged as part of a court bid to have significant restrictions placed upon the Nomads Dylan Britliffe, Blake Kevin Martin, James Kenneth Quinnell, Kane Benjamin Tamplin and Bradley Bowtell in an attempt to quell the violence.
In an application for a Serious Crime Prevention Order, police allege the men are involved in a criminal group and should be banned from any pub or club, restricted from using encrypted messaging apps like Wickr, Snapchat or WhatsApp, and must be obliged to produce their phone and passwords to police upon request.
The police application was opposed by the men, who said in court on Thursday they are not in "open warfare" with the Finks, do not engage in criminal activity, and do not think they're above the law.
In court documents, a senior police officer attached to the gangs task force Strike Force Raptor said the shootings targeting the women were "outside the accepted OMCG [outlaw motorcycle gang] conventions".
The conflict between the Finks and the Nomads was labelled "the most significant" in NSW.
"The level of violence is now at the most dangerous levels I have witnessed in this conflict," the officer said.
"High-powered rifles are now being used, compared to lower-grade weapons such as shotguns a few months ago. The shootings are more reckless and nearly all the recent attacks have involved the use of firearms or firebombs.
"The violence has escalated to the point that it has become an emergency. It is only a matter of time before a member of the public entirely not associated with these two gangs is injured."
According to police, the "catalyst" for the feud was in October 2016, when a friend of the Nomads defected to the Finks.
Since then, other perceived slights have escalated the dispute, police say, including a chance meeting between a Fink and a Nomad in January at a Charlestown Square tattoo parlour. After an initial confrontation, where each urged "don't disrespect me", they traded blows in the car park while shouting "I respect you".
One day later, the home of Troy Vanderlight – who had the upper hand in the fistfight – was shot up, and 10 days after that an assailant suspected to be on foot threw a molotov cocktail at his home.
On February 13 Vanderlight's home was targeted again, with a dark-coloured SUV pulling up outside and a person firing seven shots from a high-powered rifle.
A dark-coloured car was also used on March 4, when a Thornton home was sprayed with bullets at 12.08am, injuring the friend of a Fink who was sleeping inside.
The victim, who had been on a lounge, jumped up when he heard the shots and had a .223-calibre bullet go through his calf. He then crawled to a rear bedroom, leaving a trail of blood.
On March 1, a high-powered rifle was used at Chisholm, near Maitland, to target the de facto of high-ranking Fink Andrew Manners. The woman was at home with her daughter, while Manners was behind bars.
Twenty shots were fired into the front window, front door and garage door, some travelling through walls to the bedroom where the pair were sleeping. Police found a pile of .223-calibre casings on the road outside.