Police find money buried at Derrinallum blast site

The site of the explosion at Derrinallum.
The site of the explosion at Derrinallum.

POLICE have recovered a large quantity of cash from the Derrinallum property belonging to bomber Glenn Sanders.

Acting Superintendent Paul Ross confirmed the money was discovered buried at the Hamilton Highway farm after a tip-off from locals.

“There were rumours getting around there was a large quantity of cash buried out there,” Acting Superintendent Ross said. “They were actually true.”

“We’re satisfied there was no more. We’re wanting to dispel any rumours so if people wanted to go out to the property on a bit of a gold hunt it’s probably not worth their while.”

Acting Superintendent Ross said all the cash was now in the hands of police and would become part of Mr Sanders’ estate.

Police are still on the scene at the farm, several kilometres east of the town, but the highway has been reopened to traffic.

The property is expected to be handed back to the estate at the end of this week or early next week.

Police closed the road late on Friday April 11 after Sanders, who was wearing a vest rigged with explosives, returned home but resisted arrest, sparking a seven-hour stand-off.

Negotiators and bomb squad members were called in but Sanders detonated a series of explosives, killing himself and injuring two Melbourne-based policemen. One has since returned to work and the other is recovering and is expected to have no long-term problems.

The three-week operation to clear the site of more explosives was described as “unprecedented” and the biggest of its kind in Australian history.

“This incident has been quite unique in terms of the subject matter that we’re dealing with,” Acting Superintendent Ross said. “We don’t deal with a lot of incidents that involve large amounts of explosives so it was somewhat unusual.”

He praised the Country Fire Authority and the State Emergency Service and the Australian Defence Force for their support.

Specialists from a large mining company and the University of Melbourne provided information about the science behind the explosives that were found and how to deal with them.

“It was really a collective effort.”

Acting Superintendent Ross said police would increase patrols of Derrinallum in the next few weeks and people with concerns or issues should contact them.

He said homicide squad detectives would also be in town interviewing people as part of a brief to be handed to the coroner.

He would not comment on how Sanders, who had an explosives licence, was able to gather such a large amount of explosives, saying it was a matter for the coroner.

“It’s the elephant in the room I guess. How did someone like Mr Sanders ultimately end up in possession of any explosives, let alone the quantity he did have?”

At a community meeting in Derrinallum this week, Acting Superintendent Ross praised residents for their help and patience during the operation.

“In a lot of ways, it’s been easier to deal with people from a place like this because everyone’s fairly resilient and tough in a lot of ways and they obviously pull together.”