Group filmed break-in at Muswellbrook winery

Newcastle courthouse.
Newcastle courthouse.

A MAN who filmed himself and his four friends breaking into a Muswellbrook winery and stealing four boxes of wine before causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage uploaded the videos to Snapchat, court documents state.

Cameron Snudden, 34, and four others broke into Hunter Wine Services in Hunter Street, Muswellbrook about 6pm on September 14 last year and stole 41 bottles of wine and caused more than $40,000 in damage when they knocked over two barrels containing between 250 and 300 litres of wine.

Snudden appeared in Newcastle Local Court via audio visual link from Orange Local Court last week and pleaded guilty to aggravated break, enter and steal in company and damaging property after the DPP agreed to withdraw a more serious break and enter charge.

Snudden is the first of the group to enter a plea in relation to the break-in and will be sentenced in September.

Police allege the other four members of the group who broke into the winery were Brodi Beswick, Hayden Macleay Giltrow, Taylea Maree Manery and Ryan Romero. They will next return to court on August 11.

Hunter Wine Services, a major Hunter wine operation that produced four million bottles a year, exported to 30 countries, and was Australia's biggest seller of wine to Russia, was placed in liquidation in May, 2019, and closed its operations.

And it appeared Snudden initially thought the group were breaking into an abandoned building, with one of his Snapchat videos recording him saying: "Bro, I don't know if this is abandoned, cos there's a computer on over here too."

CCTV footage captured the group walking around the property, through the amenities building, distribution building and a distillery between about 6.10pm and 7.05pm on September 14.

Nine silent alarms were triggered and security and police arrived to find two vehicles parked outside the winery with four boxes of wine nearby.

Police could see lights on inside the building and hear voices and arrested one man who poked his head out before running back inside.

Three others later walked out of the bushes surrounding the premises and were arrested.

A fifth member of the group was arrested at Hungry Jacks at Muswellbrook later that night.

During a later search of the premises, the site manager and police found two barrels containing wine had been knocked off their barrel stillages, causing one of the barrels to almost completely empty. The value of the wine was said to be more than $40,000, according to court documents.

We just found a whole bunch of trashed wine, like probably a thousand bottles.

One of the Hunter Wine Services intruders said on a Snapchat video.