Additional police officers will be deployed to Newman over the next month as part of Operation Regional Shield to tackle the town’s spiralling crime crisis. It comes after police charged a juvenile in relation to a crime spree on April 17-18 which saw several businesses targeted including the Newman Airport bar. On the evening of April 17 offenders forced entry to the Newman Airport, stealing a quantity of alcohol and cash before using a stolen Volkswagen Amarok driven into the Newman Boulevard Shopping Centre and Cellarbrations liquor store. The offenders then forced entry into the Smokemart shop and took a “quantity” of cigarettes. A police spokesperson said extensive damage was caused to both premises. “On April 19 a young offender was arrested and charged by police with three counts of aggravated burglary and commit, three counts of stealing and steal motor vehicle,” they said. The offender appeared before the South Hedland Children’s Court on April 20 and pleaded guilty to several of the charges. They were remanded in custody and will next appear before the court on May 6. Newman officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Rob Linsley said it was believed six people were involved in the incidents. The offending comes after Operation Regional Shield was rolled out in the Pilbara this month to tackle the region’s spiralling crime problem. Police Minister Paul Papalia earlier this month said something had to be done to protect police, the community and vulnerable children. “This isn’t just about making arrests,” he said. “It’s about identifying vulnerable children early and helping to steer them away from being led down the wrong path.” Police confirmed additional officers were planned to be deployed to the Newman sub-district over the next month. The Pilbara town has been struggling with repeated crime sprees for the past year. The town hosted a community crime forum in June to develop strategies to combat the issue, including a community-led Martu Patrol program to pick up children on the streets at night and take them home. And in December, a surge in crime saw police officers from Karratha and Port Hedland sent to Newman to help local officers tackle a “huge” number of crimes as part of Operation Horsfall. The operation saw an additional 12 staff deployed to the town to provide an increase in police resources in Newman, particularly during the hours of darkness when offenders were most active. The two-month operation concluded on February 6 with 230 people charged with 435 offences including 155 charges of burglary, 102 charges of stealing and 54 charges of stealing motor vehicles. A police spokesperson said during the operation 29 summonses were issued, 9 Juvenile Justice Team referrals were made and 47 juvenile cautions were issued for those offences. “Police conveyed 85 juveniles identified to be ‘at-risk’ to responsible houses, whilst a further 17 were detained for care and protection,” they said.