Women accused of turkey raid in bushfire-ravaged Bargo
Two animal activists have been arrested during an alleged midnight raid on a turkey farm in the bushfire-ravaged town of Bargo.
Just three weeks after a blaze ripped through the area, destroying at least 20 properties, the pair were allegedly carrying balaclavas and a camera and were caught by security guards on the property on Yarran Rd on Wednesday night.
Not far from the poultry farm lie a destroyed home, a burnt-out vehicle and blackened trees - stark reminders of the December 19 inferno.
Police allege Charlize Reynierse, 23, of Kurrajong, and Isabel Sleiman, 22, of Merrylands, were planning to "disrupt the core business" of the poultry farm, which supplies turkeys to Ingham's Poultry, court documents show.
Reynierse, a South African-born University of Sydney honours student, admitted to taking part in an intelligence-gathering mission when she appeared in Campbelltown Court yesterday.
Still wearing her commando boots and khaki top, she sat in the dock as magistrate Shane McAnulty warned her about the path she was taking.
"Regardless of your beliefs, if you keep going back to these places you will get caught which would see a young lady like you be in jail for a long period of time," he said.
The court heard she was found carrying a backpack containing balaclavas, a digital camera, photography light and SD cards featuring 54 hours of footage inside the farm.
Reynierse has been previously convicted of two similar offences, the court heard, and claimed she suffered from a post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by exposure to animal cruelty.
Reynierse pleaded guilty to three charges, including unlawfully enter enclosed agricultural lands to interfere with business and possess means of disguising face with intent commit indictable offence. She was granted bail and barred from going near the farm.
She will be sentenced on February 17.
Sleiman has been charged with entering enclosed agricultural lands to interfere (with a) business and possessing a means of disguising her face with an intent to commit an indictable offence. She will face Picton Court on January 28.
Yesterday she told The Daily Telegraph: "I'm an animal activist … my comment is no comment."