Three charged after police crackdown on Wangetti beach party attended by hundreds

RESIDENTS FED UP

Karlie Brady

Journalist

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Hundreds attended a large beach party at Wangetti which was broken up by Police on Saturday. Video below.
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UPDATE:

Police have released footage of the large beach party shut down by police on Saturday morning at Wangetti Beach with revellers caught breaking social distancing rules.

See police footage below:


EARLIER:


Three people were charged, and a number of fines were handed out after a large party on Wangetti Beach was shut down over the weekend with police labelling the mass gathering as disappointing.

Police from Port Douglas and Cairns responded to multiple complaints from the local community on Saturday morning, finding between 200 and 300 people gathered on the beach.

A police spokesperson said officers located people illegally camping, vehicles parked illegally, alcohol being consumed on the beach, as well as a stage with a DJ playing loud music over a sound system.

Police dispersed the crowd and the musical equipment was unplugged.

A large section of the crowd became unruly and hostile towards police with additional resources necessary to retain control of the situation.

A heavy police presence including roughly a dozen police vehicles attended the scene.

Acting Superintendent Mark Linwood, Far North District said police showed patience and tolerance continuing to negotiate with the large crowd and give move-on directions. Officers also tipped out large quantities of alcohol.

A 35-year-old Cairns North man was arrested and charged with one count each of possession of a dangerous drug, possession of suspected stolen property, public nuisance and two counts of obstructing police. He is due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on 6 November.

While two 23-year-old men were issued with Notices to Appear in court for allegedly drink driving.

A number of infringements were also issued by the Douglas Shire Council in relation to illegal camping.

This is not the first time a large party of this kind has been held on Wangetti Beach and local residents say they are fed up.

Wangetti resident, John Lang, said there have been a number of occurrences of large beach parties at the North end of Wangetti Beach over the years, with numbers continuing to grow, however, he said this is by far the largest he has seen.

“Cars were parked from the beach and picnic area all the way back to the highway, even spilling into the car park at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures,” he said.

“Many were campervans or tent-top vehicles.”

Mr Lang said a number of residents called police on Friday night at around 9:00pm when the party first started, however, it wasn’t shut down until the next morning.

“It’s not just the noise factor from the party, the biggest thing is the rubbish that gets left behind.

“It often ends up being the locals who go and clean it up and residents are fed up.”

Mr Lang said it’s not just bottles and cans left behind, there is also often a lot of human faeces and toilet paper left on the beach.

Police investigations into the party are continuing in relation to breaches to the Chief Health Officer directions in regard to COVID-19.

Acting Superintendent Linwood urged Queenslanders not to let their guard down or ignore the health warnings and directions.

“By and large Queenslanders have done a great job in combating COVID-19 but we cannot and must not become complacent,” he said.

“COVID-19 and the threat it poses to all Queensland communities is real. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they are practising effective social distancing and following the directions as set out by the Chief Health Officer.”

A Queensland Police spokesperson said Police and partner agencies will continue to work with the community to guide compliance and mitigate the threat of COVID-19 in Queensland, however blatant disregard for the directions may result in fines being issued.

“Police will use discretion in how they respond to various circumstances however if people blatantly disobey any of the public health directions, officers can issue on the spot fines of $1,334 for individuals under section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005,” the spokesperson said.

Members of the public who wish to report blatant breaches of public health directions during COVID-19 should complete a report on the QPS website: https://forms.police.qld.gov.au/launch/SuspiciousActivity



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