Beach hoon crackdown a success

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 12:53 26/01/2014

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Wairarapa

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A police crackdown on hoons at two popular beaches has been so successful there were more lollipops given out than tickets.

Police focused on education rather than enforcement during the two-week operation over the Christmas and New Year period at Wairarapa's Castlepoint and Riversdale beaches, officer in charge Constable Shayne Nolan said.

This extended to one officer making a habit of rewarding seatbelt and helmet wearers with lollipops.

"A lot of people get a little bit casual when they're out at the beach so it's good to see when people still take road safety seriously," Mr Nolan said.

Policing at the beaches was beefed up last holiday period after a man was badly hurt doing skids at speed on Castlepoint Beach before Christmas.

About 10 speeding tickets were issued to drivers travelling to or from the beaches, five official warnings were given to quad bike users for not wearing helmets, and five compliance notices issued to drivers of non-registered quad bikes. There were also four official warnings for careless driving on the beach.

Drivers needed to realise beaches were legal roads, Mr Nolan said. "Any driving which wouldn't be acceptable in the main street of town should not be acceptable on the beach."

Liquor bans in public areas over New Year's Eve also appeared to have worked well, with only one person being arrested at both beaches over the two-week period, for drink-driving.

Extra police patrolled in Riversdale as about 200 young people saw in the new year at parties on private properties, but behaviour was generally good, Mr Nolan said.

The message about safe quad bike use still needed emphasising, however, with a serious injury to a quad biker occurring last Thursday at another Wairarapa beach, Lake Ferry. The rider, who was taken to hospital, was not wearing a helmet and was not riding safely, Mr Nolan said.

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- The Dominion Post

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