EN ROUTE to a home in Waratah West where they plan to terrorise and rob a drug dealer, four men laugh as they talk about how easy the target is going to be and discuss plans for splitting up the inevitable loot of drugs and cash.
"Now, the biggest risk I reckon... we hit him like f---ing 3 or 4 weeks ago was it?" Matthew John Moore, 37, asks the others.
"So he might have a bat or a stick with a nail in it or something.
"I doubt it though he went down pretty easy last time. "I'm going to pressure him hard this time."
The men don't know it but detectives have been monitoring their every move since Moore held up a bank at East Maitland and have planted covert listening devices, tracking and surveillance bugs in a number of their homes and cars, including the one they are using for the drug rip home invasion at Waratah West on the night of June 13, 2018.
"What do you want to do?" Moore asks the three others. "Have a look from a distance first or do you just want to roll on it?"
"Just go straight in," Terry Egan, one of the other men, replies.
Then, like something out of a movie, the listening device records the sound of shifting upholstery and four car doors slamming.
Twenty seconds later there is a loud bang in the distance as the men kick down the front door of a home in Allowah Street.
Eight seconds after that comes the sound of the first gunshot.
Then another gunshot, from a different weapon.
Then men and women loudly shout and swear.
And 10 seconds after that, 38 seconds after they got out of the car, three of the men jump back in.
Egan has been blasted with a shotgun.
His thumb is hanging off as he screams in pain.
"My hand's blown apart, c---," Egan cries as one of the other men tells him to open the door to let Moore in.
Someone is smashing the back windscreen of the car.
Moore - who dropped his .22 calibre rifle in the commotion - is outside on the ground being mercilessly beaten.
"Get up and f---ing run, Matty," the getaway driver David Alan Jones implores Moore.
"How many is there? Get in the f---ing car Matt. Get in the car."
All hell has broken loose.
The bungled drug rip home invasion at Waratah West was the final act in a six-month spree that included two bank robberies, a tense and bloody rivalry between the four men and their drug dealing "easy target" Brandon Ryan Jennings and his brother-in-law Christopher Damien Stokes and an attempt by Egan to get those responsible for blasting off his thumb "gotten to" in jail.
"Put the word out, he needs to get got and put in the boneyard," Egan said of Jennings in an intercepted telephone call.
It all started about 9.40am on January 4, 2018, when Moore walked into the Maitland Mutual Building Society in George Street, East Maitland holding a shortened rifle and a green shopping bag.
He walked up to a woman behind the counter and said "give me the money".
He left with $7000 in cash and ran to a waiting white Holden Commodore that detectives allege was being driven by 27-year-old Mr Jones.
Earlier that day Mr Jones had reported that his car had been stolen from outside of his house.
It was later found burnt out in bush near the Link Road at Wallsend on January 6, 2018.
Police set up Strike Force Yallourn to investigate the East Maitland armed robbery and, suspicious of their involvement, began tapping the phones used by Moore and Jones.
On June 13, 2018, Egan was behind the wheel of the getaway car when Moore walked into the New Lambton branch of the Newcastle permanent armed with a sawn-off rifle.
But when the staff hid in the backroom, Moore was forced to flee empty handed.
After the unsuccessful bank job, Moore decided to pick on an easy target and that night they headed around to Jennings' place to rob him again.
But what they hadn't contemplated was that those inside the house knew they were coming.
When Moore fired a .22 rifle through the open doorway, the bullet whizzing past Jennings's head, Stokes fired back with a 12 gauge double barrel shotgun, striking Egan in the shoulder and destroying his right thumb.
Moore, Egan, Jones and Matthew Primmer have all pleaded guilty to their roles in the bungled home invasion at Waratah West and will appear in Newcastle District Court on June 13 to get sentence dates.