Police from Richmond Local Area Command are urging revellers to celebrate safely during this year’s Mardi Grass Festival on the state’s north coast.
Police will be conducting a high-visibility operation in and around the Nimbin township during the festival, which will be held from Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May 2016, NSW Police say.
The aim of the police operation is to maintain a safe environment for the public, by targeting illegal drug activity and anti-social behaviour.
Police are expecting large crowds to converge on the small village over the weekend, given numbers in previous years.
Chief Inspector William McKenna, of the Richmond Local Area Command, said the extended police presence will be in place to ensure revellers have a good time while keeping safe.
“Police will be targeting illegal drug use and supply, underage drinking, alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour,” Chief Inspector McKenna said.
“We will take appropriate action against anyone who chooses to commit a crime, or behave in an offensive manner.
“Nimbin attracts a large volume of backpackers and tourists year round, looking to experience the alternative lifestyle.
“Unfortunately there is a group of people who target these tourists and are actively engaged in the supply of prohibited drugs, including cannabis, cannabis cookies, magic mushrooms, LSD, methylamphetamine, MDMA, cocaine and heroin.
“Illicit drugs can have life-threatening effects, especially when they are combined with alcohol.
“It is a common misconception amongst those international tourists that it is legal to take illicit drugs in the Nimbin area.
“We want to inform those tourists that it is not only illegal to possess or take illicit drugs; but those caught face serious consequences.
“If you suspect the health of another festival-goer may be impaired by drugs, alcohol, or any other factor, tell someone immediately and seek professional medical assistance,” he said.
Additional officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command will also be deployed in the area over the weekend, to target speeding, drink-and-drug-driving and other dangerous driver behaviour.
“Plan your trip ahead of time and if you’re travelling a long distance, factor in plenty of rest stops and obey the road rules,” Chief Inspector McKenna said.
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stopers.