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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Police kept busy by COVID-19 rule breakers

Police were forced to break up a large gathering of more than 1,000 people at a sporting event in Ballina on the weekend, with organisers receiving a $5,000 fine for failing to adhere to COVID-19 public health rules.

NSW Police says officers from Richmond Police District were conducting duties at the sports ground on Saturday, when they became concerned about the increasing crowd numbers.

Police observed that people were not being counted as they entered the ground and, after it was estimated that more than 1,000 were in attendance, event organisers were directed to reduce the crowd size.

Play was suspended for a short time while the crowd was reduced by half and appropriate control measures were established.

Also at the weekend, Police performing Operation Border Closure stopped a Hyundai SUV at the Tocumwal border checkpoint on Saturday and spoke with the male driver.

The 26-year-old man told police he was returning to Queensland and was unaware he required a permit to transit through NSW. He was provided advice on applying for a permit before being refused entry and directed to return to Victoria.

About 7am the following day, police were advised the same SUV was seen driving on the Tocumwal Railway Bridge into NSW.

Police stopped the vehicle on the Newell Highway at Finley and spoke to the same driver. He was escorted back to border and issued a $1000 PIN for failure to comply with COVID-19 directions.

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District also broke up a large house party in Letchworth Parade, Balmoral, about 10.30pm on Saturday.

Police arrived to find more than 100 young people congregated and spoke with the home owner, a 47-year-old woman, who said many of the guests were uninvited but she had not asked them to leave.

As police attempted to disperse the crowd, they became hostile towards the officers and threw bottles, rocks, and other projectiles before damaging property, including fences, trees and street signs.

The crowd was eventually dispersed and investigations into the incident are continuing. Officers have since issued the woman with a $1000 PIN.

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