Home | News | NSW man in custody after TAFE lockdown
Police allege that Paul William Chesworth - an engineer with a “bomb-making hobby” - threatened to use explosives, resulting in Wollongbar TAFE being locked down. Picture: Cath Piltz, News Corp Australia.

NSW man in custody after TAFE lockdown

A 45-year-old NSW man was taken into custody by officers from the Tactical Operations Unit on Thursday after a siege along the Bruxner Highway in Wollongbar.

Police allege that Paul William Chesworth – an engineer with a “bomb-making hobby” – threatened to use explosives, resulting in Wollongbar TAFE being locked down and students warned to stay indoors.

Officers, including police negotiators and Polair, were called to the property at 8 am following a “concern for welfare” warning.

Mr Chesworth was arrested and taken to Lismore Base Hospital for and initial assessment at about 2pm.

A TAFE NSW spokesperson said the lockdown was a “precaution” with several students being forced to stay inside, some posting on X, formerly Twitter, while the site was locked down.

The McLeans Ridges man faced Ballina Local Court on Friday following the six-hour siege situation.

Mr Chesworth’s case was raised before Magistrate Karen Stafford, but he did not appear and was represented by a lawyer.

He has been charged with using a carriage service to make a hoax threat, as well as giving false information about a person/property in danger and possessing a prohibited drug – oxycodone.

Mr Chesworth is also charged with contravening an apprehended violence order (AVO) in relation to a separate alleged incident. No pleas have been entered.

The operation sparked concern on social media about guns and bombs, but police stated no one in the wider community was at risk at any stage.

Police blockaded roads, including the highway, and told residents to stay indoors.

It’s alleged Mr Chesworth is an engineer interested in “bomb making” with court documents indicating Mr Chesworth’s “threats and actions” over “the past several days” caused “significant disruption to the local community”.

Police also allege the hoax involved “inducing a false belief that an explosive has been or will be left in any place”.

Defence lawyer Gemma Campagna told the court Mr Chesworth was back in Lismore Base Hospital under police guard and a release application would not be made.

She said it was unclear how long he would remain in hospital and she did not have instructions.

Mr Chesworth is accused of having 14 oxycodone painkillers not prescribed to him.

He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless wounding in company relating to alleged offending at an earlier date.

It’s alleged Mr Chesworth inflicted a large wound on a man’s cheek which needed a dozen stitches, and that he later breached bail and a related AVO.

Mr Chesworth has not been charged with weapons or explosives offences; his case was relisted at Byron Bay Local Court on November 27.

Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the top stories in our weekly newsletter Sign up now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To continue onto Campus Review, please select your institution.