NSW Police Car. Picture: Trevor Veale
NSW Police Car. Picture: Trevor Veale

DON’T ARGUE: COVID-19 fines after police cop abuse, lies

ARGUING the point over the coronavirus Public Health Order is not helping some Clarence Valley people get away with allegedly flouting the new laws.

Police have issued three Public Infringement notices to people who have become abusive, argued, or lied about their situation to local police.

In the early hours of Friday morning, officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District attended a home on Bligh Street, South Grafton, following reports of a loud party.

On arrival, the attendees scattered and after reminding the occupants of the requirements under the Public Health Act, police issued a noise abatement direction.

About 8.30am, police spoke to three men - two of which were the occupants of the Bligh Street home - who were drinking together on the corner of Bligh and Cambridge Streets.

The men, aged 18, 25 and 27, were reminded they were breaching the Ministerial Directions, and after the older man began swearing and 25-year-old man refused to go home, they were issued with a $500 fine for offensive language and a $1100 fine for continuing intoxication in a public place respectively.

All three men were issued with $1000 penalty infringement notices (PIN) and sent home.

The next night, while police were patrolling in the area of Bent Street, South Grafton officers stopped at a house on Bent Street, South Grafton.

A 30-year-old man was spoken to, who stated he was at the house visiting friends. He became verbally abusive when police notified him that he was in breach of Ministerial Directions and was subsequently issued a $1000 PIN.

And for those thinking that visiting the remote tourist areas of the Clarence was a good way to escape, police have been patrolling all the known holiday hot spots.

Officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District attended the remote village of Sandon on Saturday following reports holiday-makers had made their way to the area for Easter.

Police spoke with a 53-year-old man and his 51-year-old wife, who said they had been in the area for more than two weeks. Following inquiries, officers established they had only arrived two days prior. The couple was issued with $1000 PINs and directed to return to their Lennox Head property.

Another couple and their two children were also spoken to at another home and given warnings before being directed to return to their Petersham home.

The infringement notices bring the total to five handed out in the Clarence Valley since the public health orders were initiated for the coronavirus.

Since 17 March 2020, police have issued 53 Court Attendance Notices, and 406 PINs for breaches of the Public Health Act.