Booby-trapped Central Coast house searched after Strike Force Conus armed robbery arrest at Ettalong Beach

A MAN will face armed robbery charges in court on Friday after a police investigation into a spate of Central Coast bottle shop hold-ups.

Police arrested the man in a traffic stop on Thursday night shortly before specialist officers were called in to render an apparently booby-trapped house safe for a search.

The arrest follows the formation of a strike force to examine several hold-ups in the past six weeks.

On September 13, two men entered a Long Jetty bottle shop and threatened a staff member and customer. The men, one of whom was armed with a shortened double-barrel shotgun, allegedly stole cash and the customer's wallet before fleeing.

At Wamberal, a man with a shortened double-barrel shotgun entered a bottle shop just before 8pm on September 18. Police will allege he threatened the employee before taking cash and fleeing the scene.

The third incident occurred about 9pm on September 30 after two men, one wielding a shortened shotgun, allegedly threatened staff and security at a Shelly Beach club before demanding cash.

Both men fled the scene with money.

On October 8, a man with a shortened shotgun entered a Bateau Bay liquor store and allegedly threatened a staff member, demanding cash and cigarettes.

The robber fled to a waiting vehicle with cash, cigarettes and whiskey.

After examining each incident, detectives from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad formed Strike Force Conus to investigate the incidents.

Police said they were believed to be linked.

Their extensive inquiries led officers to arrest a 42-year-old man during a vehicle stop on Flathead Road at Ettalong Beach about 7.40pm on Thursday night.

Police called in police negotiators and tactical officers as they attempted to search a property police said appeared to have been booby trapped.

After the house was rendered safe, police conducted a search that allegedly yielded ammunition, handcuffs and "items of interest to investigation".

The man was taken to Gosford police station before paramedics took him to hospital for treatment.

He was subsequently charged with two counts each of robbery whilst armed with dangerous weapon, in company; and robbery whilst armed with dangerous weapon, drive whilst disqualified and possess ammunition.

He was refused bail to face Gosford Local Court on Friday.

Investigations under Strike Force Conus are continuing.