New swoop nets more payments for victims

Last updated 13:00 21/05/2014

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Goods and cash worth close to $200,000 have been seized from people in the Nelson region who have not paid their fines or reparation.

Operation Country Roads 2 was conducted last weekend by Nelson Bays police and bailiffs for the Ministry of Justice, focusing on the collection of outstanding fines and reparation owed to victims of crime.

Between Friday and Sunday, police and bailiffs visited about 100 Nelson properties in an effort to find people with unpaid fines or who had reparation owing, Senior Sergeant Grant Andrews said.

The operation was part of an ongoing initiative between police and the ministry, and was the second joint operation in the region in the past six weeks.

Police said bailiffs seized 11 vehicles and a range of property, including cash, an Xbox, cameras, guitars, a cellphone, a television and other personal assets.

The total value of the goods seized was $196,206, with $30,960 of that being reparations owed to victims.

Andrews said people needed to be aware that if they left fines or reparations unpaid, there was a very real risk that they would have other property seized in lieu of payment.

Six people are also facing drink-driving charges as a result of the operation.

Andrews said police were disappointed with the high level of intoxication among the drivers who were arrested, with some having double the legal limit of alcohol in their systems.

One driver was involved in a non-injury crash in Motueka.

The six are due to appear in the Nelson District Court in the coming weeks.

Police also issued more than 116 infringement notices for offences such as speeding, not having a vehicle registration or warrant of fitness, and failing to stop for red lights.

They also issued a large number of tickets to drivers carrying passengers while on a learner's or restricted licence.

Andrews said that one learner driver had four passengers in the vehicle with him late at night.

"None of the passengers were licensed to drive the vehicle, resulting in friends and family having to uplift them from the roadside."

Andrews said parents needed to take responsibility for their children driving outside their authorised hours, to ensure the safety of their children, their passengers, as well as other road users.

A further five drivers received roadside suspensions, and three vehicles were impounded by police after they were found being driven by disqualified or suspended drivers.

With winter sports under way, police are encouraging sports clubs to exercise responsibility around after-match drinking.

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Anti-drink-driving operations will be focusing on sports clubs and in rural areas over the coming months.

Anyone who still has outstanding fines should contact the court or phone 0800 4 FINES (0800 434 637) to arrange payment.

- The Nelson Mail

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