Noah Yamore, of Mullumbimby, supposedly sings to police before the start of the MardiGrass law reform parade in Nimbin.
Noah Yamore, of Mullumbimby, supposedly sings to police before the start of the MardiGrass law reform parade in Nimbin. The Northern Star

Police put their mark on festival

THE weekend's MardiGrass festival in Nimbin attracted a record crowd of 15,000 people, 80 of whom were apprehended as part of police operation Brewarrana.

The taskforce involved random breath-tests, the use of drug dogs, roadside drug-testing and a high number of police walking the street.

Most arrests were for drug-related offences, however, about half of those caught with drugs were given cautions which will not result in a court appearance.

While MardiGrass parade organiser Elizabeth Rix described the police presence at the festival as imposing, Richmond Local Area commander Superintendentt Bruce Lyon said the police presence was appropriate for the size of the crowd.

Michael Balderstone, of the Hemp Embassy, said police had lightened up a bit during the festival, after last week forcing the weekend closure of the Hemp Bar and Nimbin Museum under the Restricted Premises Act.

"It was hard watching people miss out on seeing the museum," he said.

MardiGrass parade marshal Graeme Dunstan also praised the restraint of police who, he said, backed off from raiding MardiGrass HQ.

"The police were patrolling in a low-key presence in the crowd on Sunday. They were visible, ready to help, ready to talk, but certainly not harassing," he said.

A drug-dog operation stopping cars just outside Nimbin resulted in 44 drug detections, with 27 being issued cautions.

Officers conducted 54 driver drug-tests, with three testing positive. Two of 317 people given random breath tests returned low range PCA readings.

Two cars were stolen during the weekend in Nimbin and a 51-year-old man was charged on Friday night following a seizure of martial arts weaponry which included nunchakus and karma fickles.

In the week leading up to the festival police seized more than 50kg of cannabis as well as amphetamines, ecstasy and LSD in the LAC.

Police operation Brewarrana continues today. Meanwhile police are investigating the assault of a 22-year-old woman who was treated in hospital for facial injuries on Saturday afternoon, and the assault of a 17-year-old girl on Friday night.


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