Beach party prompts arrests, fines in police COVID crackdown

THREE people were arrested and several more have received fines following a crackdown on a massive beach party north of Cairns.

Police were called out to a gathering of more than 200 people at Wangetti Beach on Saturday after loud music prompted complaints.

Officers first arrived about 8am, before returning at noon with almost a dozen police vehicles to disperse the crowd.

Three people were arrested and charged in a police crackdown on a gathering of over 100 people at Wangetti Beach on Saturday.
Three people were arrested and charged in a police crackdown on a gathering of over 100 people at Wangetti Beach on Saturday.

According to a Queensland Police spokeswoman, a DJ had set up scaffolding and was playing music, which police ordered to be unplugged.

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

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 November 6.

Two 23-year-old men, one from Brisbane and one from Cairns North, were issued with notices to appear in court for alleged drink driving.

The Cairns North man will appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on November 6.

Cairns police Inspector Monique Ralph said the large police presence that arrived was able to disperse the crowd.

Police called taxis to help disperse groups of youths in a large party at Wangetti on Saturday.
Police called taxis to help disperse groups of youths in a large party at Wangetti on Saturday.

"Everybody started moving on quickly - we got onto a taxi company, sent out a bunch of taxis, and helped move people on," she said.

Insp Ralph said it was estimated about 200-300 people were at the gathering.

"Being a Saturday morning, it was a priority to get it closed down, considering it had been going overnight," she said.

"Obviously, we're still required to follow the chief health officer's directives, make sure we're complying with social distancing.

"Even though we don't have any cases in Cairns, we need to ensure we don't have any incidents up here."

Acting Superintendent Mark Linwood 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."

Cairns Division 9 Councillor Brett Olds said it was unclear if the massive party was connected to the issue of illegal campers along the highway connecting Palm Cove and Port Douglas.

Cr Olds said he sympathised with young people struggling with restrictions.

"Imagine what it's like being at that age at the moment when you can't date, you can't gather anywhere or do anything," he said.

A Douglas Shire spokeswoman said two council officers had also attended, handing out infringement notices for illegal camping.



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