Tweed-Byron Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Roptell. Photo: Scott Powick
Tweed-Byron Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Roptell. Photo: Scott Powick

Police reveal fines for Easter long weekend breaches

POLICE have given the region a big thumbs up after just ten repeat offenders were fined for disobeying coronavirus protection measures.

The boys in blue were out in force this Easter long-weekend and according to the Tweed Byron Police District's top cop officers were pleasantly surprised.

District Commander Superintendent David Roptell, who had been on the job himself across the area the last four days, thanked the community for limiting movements to essential travel only particularly around roads and beaches.

He explained fines were issued both NSW and Queensland residents for mainly for non-essential travel reasons and had been already given warnings by police about their behaviour.

Three of those fines were issued last night to a group of men who were in Terranora without a reasonable excuse.

About 11.20pm, officers were called to a school Terranora Road and spoke with three men - aged 24, 25 and 26.

The group told police they were going 'stir crazy' and needed to leave their homes. 

Police issued $1000 fines to all three men and infringement notices for trespassing on school grounds.

Other fines from the weekend included a man found wandering around a road at Banora Point.

Police were called to Terranorra Rd just after 10.30pm Friday to find the man rambling incoherently in the front yard of a home.

Checks revealed the man was in breach of his bail conditions and was allegedly in possession of a leather glove and a staff card in someone else's name.

After being unable to provide a reasonable explanation for being away from his home and having been warned previously, he was issued with a $1000 fine and charged with goods in personal custody suspected being stolen.

He has been refused bail at Tweed Heads Police State to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court.

More fine came from Byron Bay after a 33-year-old man, who told police he booked a holiday apartment on Lawson St to self-isolate, invited two other people over for a party about 2.30pm Saturday.

The other two people - a 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman - had travelled from Clunes for the gathering.

All three were issued $1000 PINs, while inquiries are continuing into the accommodation provider.

Earlier the same day, just before midday a woman was found slumped over a steering wheel of a car parked on Johnson St, Byron Bay.

Police helped the 45-year-old from the car, during which, they located ice and drug paraphernalia as well as cards under the names of various people, $1850 cash, drug ledgers and a knife in her handbag.

Inquiries revealed the Tabulum woman had also recently travelled to Queensland.

She was charged with possess prohibited drug, goods in personal custody suspected being stolen, and possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit.

She was also issued with a $1000 fine before being granted conditional bail to appear at Byron Bay Local Court in June.

On Sunday, police stopped a car on Burringbar St, Mullumbimby, about 4pm, and spoke to the four occupants - a 16-year-old boy, two 17-year-old girls, and the 18-year-old male driver. The P-plate driver returned a positive roadside breath test and received a fine for special-range drink driving.

During a search of the vehicle, police located cannabis and issued cannabis cautions to the man and one of the 17-year-old girls.

The group were not able to provide a reasonable excuse for being out, and checks revealed three of the four had previously been given warnings for the same.

They were issued $1000 PINs, while the 17-year-old girl was given a warning under the Public Health Act.

Supt Roptell said if the long weekend were to be used as a benchmark, then the community would get through the challenge of the pandemic together sooner rather than later.

"Nice weather is coming up this weekend and it will be another challenge not just for us as police but the wider community," he said.

"Once again we will need to work together, as we are all in this together."

Supt Roptell praised Byron Bay's residents' behaviour as "excellent".

"We engaged a lot of people on the beaches down there for exercise purposes," he said.

"People were not taking advantage of our beaches for the wrong thing, they were doing the right thing.

"They were down there for exercise purposes and if they were coming out of the water they were drying off quickly and going home."

Supt Roptell congratulated hostel managers in Byron Bay for the compliance shown from those he had visited.

He confirmed the largest hub of activity in the Tweed was around Cudgen Creek and the Kingscliff area but added "most people were compliant".

"I will put the warning out again, if you are coming down from Queensland, coming form the south coast or travelling a long distance to our area - there is a good chance you will be fined for non essential travel," Supt Roptell said.

"There will always be that small element of the community who take matters into own hands and interpret the rules their own way.

"We are still taking this situation very seriously, we will be out and about in the future conducting patrols and checks."

While he confirmed police were being inundated by calls from people expressing concerns about others breaking the rules, Supt Roptell still encouraged calls to report concerns to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.