Police thank locals, criticise some visitors for behaviour on snow weekend

LONG AND WINDING ROAD: Traffic was bumper to bumper getting through Hampton as tourists headed to Oberon to enjoy the snow.
LONG AND WINDING ROAD: Traffic was bumper to bumper getting through Hampton as tourists headed to Oberon to enjoy the snow.

POLICE say they are extremely disappointed with the level of unacceptable behaviour displayed by many of those who visited the area over the weekend to see the snow.

Sergeant Al John said a blatant disregard for social distancing requirements and consideration for local people and facilities was on show over the weekend.

"Police issued in excess of 80 infringement notices for parking and driving offences where visiting drivers appeared to have very little regard for traffic rules," he said.

"Parking in driveways, parking in disabled car spots, parking in No Parking areas, double parking and failing to reverse park were just some of the offences for which infringement notices were issued."

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Sergeant John said police also issued infringements for other traffic offences, including negligent driving where drivers failed to drive to the conditions and vehicles running off the road, narrowly missing other vehicles.

"Many warnings were also issued for failing to comply with social distancing, particularly while waiting for food at local businesses, with crowds co-operating with police requests when required," he said.

"Unfortunately, it seems that the co-operation disappeared when the police moved on.

"Reports of hoon behaviour have also been received relating to drivers driving on the showground and local parks where they have intentionally ripped up the grass surfaces while driving dangerously and showed no concern for other visitors.

"We have been provided with video footage captured on mobile phones and are in the process of following up with those inquiries to identify the owners or drivers of those vehicles."

Police say there were a record number of calls for assistance.

Many drivers had driven into unsafe areas and needed to be recovered, including a young couple with an eight-month-old baby who were left in the elements after their car ran off the road.

Local landholders also reported a large number of visitors showing no regard for private property, with many people and vehicles entering private land to play in the snow.

Police believe landholders were abused when they asked the people on private land to leave.

Locals have indicated that the high influx of people and vehicles has not been seen in previous winters and with no restrictions on travel, police were powerless to stop the constant flow into town.

Praise for locals

POLICE would like to thank the local community for their co-operation prior to and during the weekend and are very pleased to say that the locals behaved very well in the face of some very rude and frustrating behaviour displayed by some visitors.

Police are more than happy to hear from residents about concerns.

Sergeant Al John has indicated that he is happy to meet with locals who have aired their strong opinions and views, on social media, about the lack of a police presence over the weekend.

He said he is happy to provide information relating to where he and his officers were and what they were attending to which may allay some of the concerns.

Sergeant John can be contacted at Oberon Police Station on 6336 1000 and will always make time to listen to any community concerns.

He added that he was very thankful for the efforts of all local emergency personnel, including the police, SES, NSW Fire and Rescue, RFS, NSW Ambulance and council staff.

Many volunteers are available for the safety of our community.