Malcolm NadenPOLICE are worried the state’s most wanted man Malcolm Naden may try to re-arm himself as he tries to stay on the run through dense bushland in the Barrington Tops.

Assistant Commissioner Carlene York yesterday urged all gun owners in Northern NSW to remain vigilant and ensure their firearms were locked away until the 38-year-old fugitive was captured.

Police believe Naden has been armed with hunting rifles and other firearms, stolen during break-ins at Kempsey, Gloucester and the Barrington Tops, since he arrived in the area.

But officers have now recovered three firearms in a fortnight, leading to concerns Naden may be running low on firepower and may want to replenish his stocks.

Police found two firearms at a remote campsite on December 7 after Naden shot a 33-year-old senior constable in the right shoulder during an attempted raid.

They recovered a third firearm on Wednesday after two general duties police officers from Walcha police station stumbled upon Naden burgling a remote property between Niangala and Nundle.

‘‘Naden has sought to gain access to firearms during break-ins on previous occasions,’’ Assistant Commissioner York said.

‘‘We continue to urge local residents to ensure their safety and security is a priority, as we believe this wanted man is dangerous.’’

Assistant Commissioner York revealed yesterday that the two officers got close enough to speak with Naden before he once again gave police the slip.

‘‘They did disturb a male person, which has now turned out to be Malcolm Naden,’’ she said. ‘‘They were approaching the house when he has confronted them and he’s been spoken to by police.’’

As revealed in the Herald yesterday, the officers drew their guns but Naden ran back into the house.

Ms York said the officers would have been permitted to shoot Naden, based on their assessment of events.

She said the officers called for back-up but Naden escaped.

‘‘There’s many exits from the premises, so as the police called for back-up on the radio … It’s surrounded by heavy bushland, quite difficult to contain, and he fled out into the bush,’’ Ms York said yesterday.