BIKER gangs in Australia are close to an all-out war as a power struggle rages between the outlaws.
According to Clive Small, a retired assistant commissioner in New South Wales, the gangs have been fighting for control of the amphetamine and weapons trade, along with competition for new members and extortion rackets.
The concern comes after multiple shootings across Sydney over recent weeks were attributed to the gangs, many homes where children were sleeping have been hit by bullets in the growing conflict.
Mr Small said that if a truce is not reached soon, then the power struggle will escalate into a bloody war. He explained to BBC News, Sydney: "One side will say 'hang on, we've had enough', and they'll negotiate a peace deal.
"The other situation is that we could see a loose bullet being fired into a house and hitting the family of a bikie member, particularly if it was a child.
"I think that would push it over the brink and then we'd be looking at a more substantial escalation of the situation, perhaps even a war."
The centre of the violent outbreak is Sydney, where there have been more than 60 drive-by shootings this year. Detectives have been placing the blame mostly on a dispute between the Hells Angels and the Nomads.
Police estimate that there are 35 outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia, with 3,500 members. Since the 1980s there have been around 100 biker killers and 1,000 shootings across the country.
Some of the worst cases include a clash in a car park in 1984, when six bikers were shot dead and a teenage girl was killed in the crossfire and in 2009 when a clash between Commancheroes members and Hells Angels at the Sydney Airport saw one man beaten and stabbed to death in front of passengers.