Blast at Motherwell house blows the lid off illegal abalone processing facility

A gas explosion at a house in the Eastern Cape revealed an illegal abalone drying room.
A gas explosion at a house in the Eastern Cape revealed an illegal abalone drying room.  
Image: SAPS

A gas explosion at a house in Motherwell in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape revealed a trove of poached abalone with an estimated street value of over R1m.

According to police the explosion took place on Friday. Officers arrived at about 9.50pm at the house in Ncwazi Street NU 7 where they discovered a drying facility.  

“On arrival, the entire house except one room was gutted due to the explosion. On further investigation, fans, gas bottles and 2,227 units of abalone were found in the house.”

Police say the house was rented out about six months ago. No suspects were found on the scene.

The Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit in Kariega are investigating cases of malicious damage to property and operating an abalone processing establishment without a permit.

Nelson Mandela Bay district commissioner Brig Thandiswa Kupiso urged residents not to turn a blind eye to any suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods and instead to report it to the police.

“The operation of illegal activities such as this in residential areas can be detrimental and life threatening to innocent people. Homeowners renting their properties have the onus of visiting and inspecting their properties from time to time. We will not allow criminals to ply their illegal trade among law abiding citizens.”

The confiscated abalone was taken for storage by the Department of Sea Fisheries.

Police are appealing to anyone who can assist them in their investigation in tracing the suspects to contact officer Raymond Ley on 082 441 7985 or 041 996 3340. 


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