TESTING TIMES: Police conducted random breath and drug tests over the weekend to coincide with the Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival.
TESTING TIMES: Police conducted random breath and drug tests over the weekend to coincide with the Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival. Supplied

65 driver's licences suspended for positive drug tests

UPDATE 2.11pm: POLICE have confirmed they have suspended the licences of 65 drivers during roadside drug tests at Nimbin on the weekend.

Police said while they were pleased with overall behaviour of patrons at the 2019 Nimbin MardiGrass, they were disappointed by the number of people still getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.

Officers from Richmond Police District ran a number of concurrent operations during last weekend's event (Friday  May 3 to Sunday May 5), including a drug bus operation, a drug dog operation and a high-visibility policing operation in the Nimbin township utilising operation support group, target action group, the police dog unit and general duties police.

Of note, a 24-year old Queensland man was charged with several drugs offences, including supply commercial quantity prohibited drug and he was granted conditional bail to appear at Lismore Local Court on Monday July 15.

A 17-year-old man was charged with offensive behaviour, assault police and resist arrest and was granted conditional bail to appear at a children's court in Lismore on Friday May 24.

Nine people were issued Court Attendance Notices for drug offences (cannabis, methamphetamine, LSD, mushrooms, MDMA, diazapam), more than 20 cannabis cautions were issued, and two youth cautions were issued.

As a part of police operations surrounding MardiGrass, a high-profile random breath testing and random drug testing operation was conducted, which concluded yesterday.

During the event, a number of high-profile stationary sites were set up around Nimbin to detect and deter people driving with drugs or alcohol present in their system.

Of the 65 positive results, 28 were for cannabis, 14 for cocaine, 12 for methylamphetamine, nine for cannabis and methylamphetamine, and two for cocaine and methylamphetamine.

All were suspended from driving for 24 hours and police now await laboratory testing results from a second sample before determining further legal action.

Richmond Police District Chief Inspector Nicole Bruce said police are very concerned by the large number of drivers testing positive to drugs.

She said police want to remind motorists that driving under the influence of prohibited drugs is not only illegal, it is immeasurably irresponsible and dangerous.

"Illegal drugs have an adverse effect on the precise skills, concentration and response times required to safely drive a motor vehicle," Insp Bruce said.

"Those who drive while under the influence of any drug are automatically at greater risk of injuring or killing themselves, their passengers and other road users.".

Despite this, Insp Bruce said the majority of attendees were abiding by the rules and cooperating with police to ensure the event was safe and enjoyable for the community."

 

Original story: POLICE have confirmed they have suspended the licences of 65 drivers during roadside drug tests at Nimbin on the weekend.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said the 65 people had their roadside oral fluid sample return positive during RDT and RBT testing during the Nimbin's annual Mardi Grass Festival.

"Of those 28 were for cannabis, 14 for cocaine, 12 for methamphetamine, nine for cannabis and meth and two for cocaine and meth," she said.

"All were suspended from driving for 24 hours and their second samples now being analysed at a laboratory."

She said NSW Police Highway patrol officers conducted 2370 road-side saliva tests during a four-day operation.

"Police also conducted about 2500 road-side breath tests in the area,," she said.

"They found two people caught over the limit."

More to come.