Police 'stoked' with festivalgoers

HAMISH CARDWELL
Last updated 12:04 11/02/2013
Police presence
Scott Hammond
Police were pleased with the behaviour of the crowd

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A well-organised event and good co-ordination between security and police meant the number of arrests over the festival weekend was well down on previous years, says operation commander Inspector Ross Lienert, from Tasman.

There were 10 arrests in total between 7am Saturday and 3am Sunday, all for minor matters such as disorderly behaviour or fighting, with two arrests at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival itself.

Last year there were about 40 arrests over that period, and 29 at the festival, he said.

"We are just really stoked, really pleased," he said.

About a dozen intoxicated people were removed from the Brancott Estate venue.

Security guards had been authorised to refuse entry to anyone who appeared drunk, but no-one needed to be turned away, Mr Lienert said.

The Tasman District Traffic Alcohol Group breath-testing station caught two people leaving the festival with excess breath alcohol, while a third person was arrested for the same offence overnight. "It is disappointing to get even one drunk driver," said Mr Lienert.

Nine stallholders were caught serving underage people with alcohol, which was a sour note on an otherwise orderly event, he said.

"People were not properly checking wristbands. The icing on the cake would be to get that sorted out and then the event will be perfect."

Officers from Nelson and Blenheim were part of the Public Safety Unit that policed the event.

Blenheim St John operations team leader Pete Davidson said ambulance staff treated 30 people at the event for intoxication and dehydration, with no-one requiring hospitalisation.

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- The Marlborough Express

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