OFF LIMITS: Police crack down on trespassing in beach area
People venturing behind the dunes at Norval Park could find themselves facing trespassing changes.
South Kolan Police Station Officer In Charge Matt Swan said the area, zoned for environmental purposes, was owned by a local company and off limits to the general public.
“We’re having people access private property behind the sand dunes between the Kolan River, to the north to Littabella Creek; which is about a 9km stretch of beachfront land,” Sgt Swan said.
“This incident at Norval Park Beach has been occurring over the last few years, obviously more and more people are knowing about it and can access to it …”
He said the local business was working with Traditional Owners to rehabilitate wildlife and plant life in the area, which was why it was closed off to the public.
While anyone can access the beachfront, Sgt Swan said more people were venturing into the private land despite the signage.
“The local company has erected a large number of signage and bollards in an attempt to deter people from committing the offences; however, we’re finding that offences are still occurring,” Sgt Swan said.
He said people were disrupting the sand dunes and ‘destroying’ a habitat for breeding turtles.
Sgt Swan said on occasion fencing and bollards had been removed to gain access to the high tide tracks on private land.
“The offence that is occurring is unlawfully trespassing on land; which that offence can carry up to a 6 month imprisonment term, or up to $2669 in fine,” he said.
Sgt Swan said people who are charged can find themselves before a magistrate “very quickly”.
“It is disappointing to see it continue to happen,” he said.
“September, October last year we ran a social media campaign, as well as using media outlets to educate the local community about it, in a hope to deter offences so we wouldn’t have to go down the path of sending people to court and issuing fines,” he said.
“So it’s really disappointing and disheartening to see that despite our efforts to engage and communicate and educate members of the public, that people are blatantly disregarding what we advise.”
Sgt Swan said later year a 22-year-old Kalkie man was set to face Bundaberg Magistrates Court in relation to alleged trespassing on that land.
He said another six infringement notices had been issued in relation to trespassing, with several more under investigation.
Stepping up patrols and using broader resources from the road policing command and staff from surrounding divisions to patrol the area – with a particular focus on weekends, long weekends and school holidays.
Ahead of the Australia Day long weekend, Sgt Swan said there would a heavy focus in the Norval Park area with a zero-tolerance approach.
Whether you are in a rural area or suburbia, Sgt Swan said if you don’t have authority to be on that land, don’t go on it.