Revellers hit with $45K in new booze fines

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 11:04 01/01/2014

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Police dished out $45,000 worth of instant fines to revellers celebrating the new year in the Coromandel overnight, but the number of arrests were down on previous years.

There were about 130 arrests in the Thames-Coromandel district overnight, mostly for breaches of the liquor ban and minor alcohol-related disorder.

Waikato police spokesman Andrew McAlley said that number was “well down” on past years.

He said about 180 $250 instant fines were handed out for breaches of the liquor ban, burning a $45,000 hole in partygoers' pockets.

The instant fines were introduced under new alcohol laws last month and McAlley said they have helped to keep arrest numbers down over the new year period.

McAlley said a recurring problem was young teenage girls getting drunk and putting themselves in vulnerable situations.

He said police dealt with two young girls who tried to convince officers that they were 17 but couldn't get their date of birth right and were “having a battle with gravity”.

“At the end of the day if you look at where we were at this time last year and the year before, if all we're talking about is a few intoxicated teenagers I would say we're in a pretty good position.”

Officer in charge of the summer policing operation in Whangamata, Senior Sergeant Freda Grace, praised a community group for setting up a barbecue and giving out free sausages and bread to revellers as they returned home.

“When asked why they were doing it or if they were part of any particular organisation the good samaritans simply said they thought it was a good thing to do and a way to help people celebrate the start of 2014.”

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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