Protection racket allegations: ‘I’m a mature gentleman’, says fishing base owner mired in controversy

by | Sep 11, 2020 | Business | 1 comment

By Roxanne Fitzgerald

At the gateway to some of the Northern Territory’s best waterways, where fishos snap happy-pics of their impressive hauls, there is a sinister underbelly spanning almost a decade that has seen cars mysteriously torched, scratched, and left tyre-less.

Territorians who have been victimised have told the NT Independent their cars have been damaged while parked outside a secure compound at Leaders Creek Fishing Base, about an hour’s drive from Darwin.

The crimes have long been alleged to have been perpetrated by the compound owner Brian Bulner, who lives on the property with his wife Ann and charges $20 for “peace-of-mind” parking.

But after almost eight years of what he says is “unjust” blame, Mr Bulner is speaking out.

He says the false accusations are “a joke” brought about by people who have nothing better to do than point fingers.

Since the long-term Territory couple bought the popular parking and camping spot eight years ago, they have borne the brunt of three or four accusations of crime a month, Mr Bulner said.

Slandered on social media and called a “tosser” and a “loser”, he says the claims are based on false information.

“We provide a secure complex for people’s peace of mind while they go fishing, but some people park on the road outside because they don’t want to pay and they are subject to idiots,” he said.

“For $20 I look after people’s car, but for some people who don’t want to pay the cheapest insurance, they take the risk of parking outside where there are idiots who cause problems.

“Because I live there, they accuse me falsely.”

The ‘real’ culprits have never been seen in eight years

Within his secure fence, there have been no problems to date, he said. Drivers are checked at the gate and authorised for parking. No-one else gets in.

Driven by the tide, he said there can be up to 15 cars parked outside his compound on a busy day.

In his eight years of owning the parking facility, he says he hasn’t come across the real miscreants, who he says have gone as far as “jacking a car up and stealing all the tyres”.

He did however point out the dark side of Leaders Creek Fishing Base is not uncommon in other places across the Territory.

Slashed tyres, cars lit on fire, stolen camping gear, and wheels completely removed from vehicles are issues that happen at all boat ramps in the NT, Mr Bulner says.

“100 per cent of the problem at any boat ramp is done by mischief makers because there is no security,” he said.

“That is the reason the secure complex was established, because we have idiots who steal and burn cars.”

‘I’m a mature gentleman’: Brian Bulner says he has ‘better things to do than damage cars’

Despite a string of complaints marked against him and the constant battle in defending his reputation, Mr Bulner says he doesn’t lose sleep at night.

“I am a mature gentleman…I have better things to do with my life than damage cars,” he said.

Mr Bulner said Northern Territory Police detectives are in the midst of investigating an incident which left his property damaged.

He said a person accused him of wrecking his car, but could not provide more details until the matter had been resolved by police.

A fishing enthusiast who asked not to be named told the NT Independent he no longer parks his car near the secure compound following a number of threats by the owner of the compound.

Lucky to escape with his car undamaged, he said the owner “always backed off when I said, ‘if my vehicle is damaged I’m blaming you’.”

“After that he put up no parking signs… He was never helpful, painful if anything.

“I think his missus sent him to do an anger management course if I remember correctly.

“The old owners were legendary people and overly helpful. He is just a fruit-loop as far as I’m concerned.”

Mr Bulner denied attending an anger management program and said the accusations being leveled at him were made by “sick people”.

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