Police net a splendid drug haul

QUANITITIES of heroin, ecstasy, ice, cocaine, speed and marijuana were seized by police at the annual Splendour in the Grass music festival held at the weekend.

This year police brought in sniffer dogs to combat the 'large drug culture' associated with the festival, held at Byron Bay.

Tweed/Byron crime manager Inspector Greg Carey said of more than 17,500 revellers 73 people had illegal drugs confiscated on entry to the two-day event.

Police also seized 50 ecstasy tablets and 49 ecstasy tablets from two individuals who were among seven people charged after being caught with large quantities of drugs.

A further 73 people were issued with court attendance notices for possessing prohibited drugs and 71 were given cannabis cautions.

“On talking to the dog handlers this is probably one of the most significant drug-dog detection operations NSW has seen,” Insp Carey said.

He said dogs were used in response to the large number of drug overdoses that occurred at the 2007 event.

“The promoters of the festival fully supported the use of the drug dogs and a drug-free festival,” he said.

“We believe that if we had triple the amount of resources we would have easily made triple the amount of detections.”

Police also conducted 300 roadside drug tests and nine motorists were charged for positive results. Only three ambulances were called to this year's Splendour event - all for non drug-related incidents - compared with 39 last year.

Insp Carey said police would continue their zero-tolerance approach to drugs, regardless of the festival's future location.

“At this early stage I predict an escalated police response anyway, even if it was at the same location. If and when it does go to the new location it will pose new challenges for us as police, but we'll certainly take up that challenge,” he said.

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