Red Devils, a feeder gang for the notorious Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, is using a house in Nelson as its headquarters. The gang formed a chapter in Nelson last April, with four members publicly displaying their patches during a charity ride. It was the first time the group had been seen in New Zealand. Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne McCoy of Nelson police said a property in Natalie St, in an industrial area off St Vincent St, was the members' new base. A large new wooden fence fronts it. Neighbours said it had been erected in the past week. When the Nelson Mail visited yesterday afternoon, the gate was locked and a man at the house refused to answer questions.
Vehicles parked at the house are registered to the directors of Nelson Bays Motorcycle Events Ltd, which ran last weekend's poker run in which Red Devils and Hells Angels members took part. When contacted by The Nelson Mail, the owner of the house, who lives in a nearby street, declined to comment on who was using it.
Police were keeping an eye on the property last weekend. Senior Sergeant Grant Andrews of Motueka police said the address was "of interest" to police during Operation Joker 2, which monitored the poker run.
He said there had been "quite a bit of gang movement there" since about a week ago. He did not want to speculate on the possibility of confrontation between the Red Devils and Nelson's long-established group, the Lost Breed Motorcycle Club, but said there had been no problems between Lost Breed members and the participants in last weekend's ride. "There's always going to be a tension there, and that's just the way it is," he said.
There were four known members of the Red Devils in Nelson, and that had not changed over the weekend, he said. Lost Breed spokesman Rick Sanders declined to comment on the Red Devils establishing a base in the region. Mr McCoy said there was a danger that with the establishment of a second patched motorcycle club in Nelson, regular citizens might be caught in the crossfire if there was a clash. "Having come from Timaru, where the Road Knights and the Devil's Henchmen actually had a power play in the early '90s, the danger is that innocent bystanders are caught up in the melees. "If you had a big paddock and put them all in and say `May the best man win', then it wouldn't be a problem. But that's not the worry – the worry is that someone who's not involved in either gets killed, damaged, whatever." Mr Andrews said the Red Devils were gaining a foothold in the South Island and after spending some time consolidating, they would most likely change patches to the Hells Angels.