Missing men had stolen property and `` items of interest''

UPDATE:

It started as a missing persons' story but police now say four people who got lost in Tasmanian bushland were travelling with stolen property and `` items of interest''.

Police have linked some of the property to the burglary of a farm property near Bashan Road, Waddamana.

Their vehicle - were the items were found -  did not have any numbers plates attached.

Police have renewed their call for members of the public who may have seen the gold or light brown colour 1980s model Range Rover 4WD, or any person acting suspiciously in the any of the areas surrounding Bothwell, Waddamana, Woods Lake, Arthurs Lake, Dee Lagoon and Ouse to contact police on 131444 of Crimestoppers.

Police ask local property owners to check their farm buildings or shacks and report any items that may have been stolen, since Wednesday 

Inspector Matt McCreadie, who led the search for the missing people, said

the police's priority was always to protect life and property.

``No matter how people come to get into difficulty we will search for them.  The families of these men did the right thing reporting them missing,'' he said.

Investigations are continuing. 

BEFORE:

A ROAD trip to Waddamana turned into a two-day police search and rescue operation for four Launceston men.

The men, aged 20, 23, 29 and 31, were found exhausted but physically unharmed  in separate locations in the lakes area.

The group had been travelling in a brown, early 1980s, boxy-shaped Range Rover wagon  with a loud exhaust.

The four mates travelled from Launceston to the Waddamana area on Wednesday night.

About 11pm or 11.30pm, the 23-year-old separated from the group and became lost in bushland.

However, Inspector Matt McCreadie, head of  the Bridgewater police division, said authorities were not notified of the missing men until 6.30am on Friday.

``On Friday, about 8am, the 23-year-old man who had been wandering around bushland for two days  was located in the Waddamana area  when he knocked on the door of a local farmhouse,''  Inspector  McCreadie  said.

``It was established that the other three men in his party had left Waddamana and  returned to the Cressy area, but then came back to look for him.

``In doing so, they themselves became lost. They got bogged in a track in the Woods Lake area.''

 Police and a search and rescue helicopter crew  looked for the three men, who were   located separately yesterday.

The 20-year-old and 31-year-old made their way to a road in the Woods Lake area, from where a fisherman   drove them to Cressy.

Police saw the two men at Cressy, then continued to search for the   29-year-old man and Range Rover.

Inspector McCreadie said that about three hours later, shortly after 2pm, the 29-year-old was reported to have walked on to a road and received help from two tourists in the Woods Lake area.

Police located the man and, separately, the Range Rover.

Inspector McCreadie said police were still investigating the men's movements, and urged anyone who saw them or the Range Rover in the vicinity of Waddamana, Woods Lake or Bothwell  to call police on 131 444.

He thanked the public for their help.

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