LOCAL farmers will have heaved a huge sigh of relief at the news that the men responsible for a fearful crime wave, predominantly in South Gippsland rural areas have been caught.

And a number of them, whose properties have been hit by one or both of the men in the past month, won’t be at all concerned to hear the men have been savaged by police dogs while trying to evade capture in a Macedon pine forest.

The dogs were set on the men after fleeing a car which had earlier been seen swerving down the wrong side of the Calder Freeway.

The men, a 22-year-old from Fish Creek and a 29-year-old from Wonthaggi, remain in hospital following a chase by two interchanging helicopters from the police air wing.

Acting Sergeant Jamie Jordan said officers from the Macedon Ranges Highway Patrol observed a stolen Nissan patrol utility linked to an alleged incident of ramming, at about 6.30pm on Monday.

They tried to intercept the vehicle, which also carried stolen plates, but stopped as the car took to the wrong side of the freeway to evade them.

The police air wing continued to track the car as it took a number of backroads. Police threw down spikes along Black Forest Drive at the Alex Evans Bridge which slowed the vehicle.

The alleged offenders drove to Canning Park Drive and then Centre Road before fleeing into a pine forest.

A police dog was let loose and the two men were caught by it at 7.50pm and 8.30pm respectively.

A third occupant of the vehicle, a 22-year-old woman from Altona Meadows, handed herself in at 8.55pm and was later interviewed at Kyneton police station.

Illegal firearms were found in the vehicle by police.

The men were taken to hospital under police guard and are expected to face a range of charges.

Bass Coast detectives are investigating the matter, following through on their own pursuit of the men around the local region where there have been reports of numerous thefts, high-speed evasion and car-ramming.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Please note: file photos used.