Drug warn­ings as dogs scent to BTV

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

“Do not take any form of drug what­so­ever, it’s just not worth it. It’s not worth risk­ing your life.”

This was the mes­sage from Baw Baw po­lice ser­vices area in­spec­tor Ali­son Crom­bie on Thurs­day for the 15,000 peo­ple headed for New Year’s Eve fes­ti­val “Beyond the Val­ley” at Lard­ner Park.

The four-day fes­ti­val, which kicked off on Fri­day and will close in the early hours of to­mor­row (Tues­day), is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an in­creased po­lice pres­ence.

As part of the in­crease, Pas­sive Alert De­tec­tion (PAD) dogs searched fes­ti­val-go­ers on en­try, sniff­ing out il­le­gal sub­stances be­fore they make it into the venue.

Vis­it­ing Lard­ner Park on Thurs­day, In­spec­tor Crom­bie met one of the dogs, “Fury”, ahead of a busy four days of work.

Deaths from sus­pected drug over­doses at mu­sic fes­ti­vals in Viet­nam and New South Wales were be­hind the po­lice warn­ings and in­creased po­lice pres­ence at Beyond the Val­ley, said In­spec­tor Crom­bie.

“We’ve upped it be­cause of the re­cent deaths. We can’t af­ford to have peo­ple at risk.

“There’s al­ways drug use at any mu­sic fes­ti­val. We’ve had over­doses here in pre­vi­ous years. For­tu­nately, no­body has died.”

“It’s not worth it,” she added. “We’re not the fun po­lice, but please don’t use drugs.

“That’s all we want, peo­ple to have a safe, happy event.”

In­spec­tor Crom­bie said two PAD dogs were sta­tioned at the en­trance to search pa­trons as well as work­ers. They also joined op­er­a­tional po­lice pa­trolling through­out the event.

Po­lice have also clamped down on those try­ing to smug­gle al­co­hol into the venue.

In­spec­tor Matthew Baynes added that the event was no place for drugs or drug-af­fected be­hav­iour.

“Any­one found in pos­ses­sion of il­licit sub­stances will face tough penal­ties,” he said.

“We con­tinue to run these op­er­a­tions at fes­ti­vals year in and year out, but un­for­tu­nately for some, the mes­sage just isn’t get­ting through.

“The sorts of drugs that we’re de­tect­ing can cause sig­nif­i­cant harm to the body.

“They’re man­u­fac­tured by crim­i­nals who have no re­gard for the well­be­ing of those tak­ing them.”

Foot pa­trols and High­way Pa­trol of­fices will be on hand to as­sist crowds leav­ing the event to­mor­row.

Baw Baw po­lice ser­vices area in­spec­tor Ali­son Crom­bie meets Pas­sive Alert De­tec­tion (PAD) dog “Fury” on Thurs­day ahead of 15,000 peo­ple ar­riv­ing at Lard­ner Park for New Year’s Eve fes­ti­val “Beyond the Val­ley”.As part of an in­creased po­lice pres­ence at the four­day fes­ti­val, PAD dogs searched fes­ti­val-go­ers on en­try, sniff­ing out il­le­gal sub­stances be­fore they made it into the venue.“Do not take any form of drug what­so­ever, it’s just not worth it. It’s not worth risk­ing your life,” warned In­spec­tor Crom­bie.“There’s al­ways drug use at any mu­sic fes­ti­val. We’ve had over­doses here in pre­vi­ous years. For­tu­nately, no­body has died.”Foot pa­trols and High­way Pa­trol of­fices will be on hand to as­sist crowds leav­ing the event to­mor­row.

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