A police image of Malcolm NadenSYDNEY – Police believe there may be more unoccupied remote properties in northern NSW that fugitive Malcolm Naden has broken into in his search for food and shelter.

There has been no sign of the accused murderer and rapist since two local officers came face-to-face with him while investigating a break-in at a property at Niangala on December 21.

Police yesterday issued a new plea for residents to make sure that properties that weren’t in use were secure so that Australia’s most wanted man could not get in.

“Premises in the search area that had been broken into and had items stolen from them had been left vacant for some time,” Assistant Commissioner Carlene York said.

“It is possible that there are still premises in remote areas that we have not yet visited and may have been compromised.”

The former abattoir worker has a $250,000 bounty on his head for the alleged murder of his two cousins and the rape of a 15-year-old girl.

He has been on the run since 2005, and is believed to be on the lam in dense bush near Nowendoc, south-east of Tamworth.

Recent confirmed sightings have prompted police to refocus their efforts on bringing the outlaw in, but he has continued to evade capture despite a large manhunt involving camouflaged police, high-tech heat-seeking devices, aerial patrols and mobile command posts.

An expert bushman, Naden is believed to be subsisting on raw kangaroo and wombat, supplemented by provisions pilfered from remote homesteads.

“We are appealing to owners of premises in the Nowendoc area and surrounds to check their premises and report any missing items to police immediately,” Ms York said.

“We would also appeal to owners to remove any foodstuffs or property that may assist Mr Naden in his activities.”

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