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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
Sydney man targets phone masts
Police follow the armoured vehicle in Sydney. Courtesy ABC online
Police followed the vehicle in a sedately paced chase

A man has been arrested in Sydney after phone masts were destroyed during a 90-minute rampage in a privately owned armoured personnel carrier.

John Robert Patterson, 45, allegedly smashed six properties including an electrical substation in a path of destruction through six suburbs.

Police followed the vehicle in a sedately paced chase until it stalled.

A defence lawyer said Mr Patterson claimed "that certainly he had authority to behave in such a manner".

Mr Patterson appeared in the Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday and was denied bail pending another hearing on Monday.

He has been charged with malicious damage, breaking and entering, using a weapon to avoid arrest, predatory driving, possessing a prohibited drug and driving dangerously.

The magistrate recommended Mr Patterson receive psychiatric attention.

'Coverage problems'

The incident began when police noticed the vehicle destroying a substation in Minchinbury at about 0200 local time on Saturday (1200 GMT).

Officers called for back-up and pursued the vehicle at speeds averaging 30km/h (19 mph) as it crashed through masts, fences and telecom relay sheds.

They moved in as it stalled trying to bring down another mobile phone tower in the suburb of Dean Park.

Police gave no reason why Mr Patterson had targeted the masts.

Telecoms firm Telstra said there would be "coverage problems" and it might have to install temporary phone towers once it was given access by police.

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