Police at Falls Festival 2016 in Byron Bay at the Byron Bay Parklands.  Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Police at Falls Festival 2016 in Byron Bay at the Byron Bay Parklands. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Police record 27 illicit drug detections at Byron Falls Fest

POLICE said they were happy with the overall conduct of Falls Festival Byron patrons this year, after only 27 illicit drug detections were recorded from a crowd of close to 20,000.

The police presence was part of an operation which included officers from the Tweed/Byron LAC, the Dog Unit and Tweed/Byron Licensing Police from Wednesday December 30 to Saturday January 2.

During the three-day festival, a 20-year-old man was charged with supply prohibited drug and has been granted conditional bail to appear at Byron Bay Local Court on January 21.

More than 50 Criminal Infringement Notices were issued for trespassing and nine Future Court Attendance Notices were handed out for drug-related offences.

Seven vehicles and 32 people were searched and two people were charged with stealing.

Two alleged assaults occurred, including a 63-year-old man charged with armed with intent to commit indictable offence, steal from the person, common assault and drive furiously in motor vehicle causing bodily harm

The string of charges were a result of an incident involving the 63-year-old and a security guard on Friday, January 1.

The man has been granted condition bail to appear in Tweed Heads Local Court on February 15.

This year marks the first year since the festival began in 2014 where no on-site deaths have been recorded.

On December 31, 2014, a 26-year-old man was found dead at a Falls Festival campsite at about 7.30am.

The year before, police confirmed an non-suspicious death overnight at the Yelgun site on January 2.

 

Premier Speaks out about festival drug use

Premier Mike Baird has spoken out about festival drug use after a 23-year-old woman was hospitalised and 180 charged with drug offences at Sydney's New Year's Eve Field Day festival.

Mr Baird said drug related incidents at festivals "simply has to stop" and relevant state government ministers should look at reviewing the festival permit system.

"Individuals need to take responsibility for their actions, but so do the organisers of these festivals," he said.

"In the light of this latest distressing and avoidable incident, I will be asking the relevant ministers to review the current system of regulating events held on public land, including the system for granting permits for public events such as music festivals."

The Premier said there should be more screening and searches at festival entry points, with non-compliant events cancelled.

"If new rules and procedures place additional burdens and costs on organisers, so be it - and we will also examine denying permits to organisers who have not done the right thing in the past."

In November, a 25-year-old pharmacist Sylcia Choi died of a drug overdose at Stereosonic in Sydney.

Another festival death, that of 26-year-old Nigel Pauljevic, had only occurred two months earlier at Sydney's Defqon music festival.

And in 2014, teenager Georgina Bartter died of a drug overdose at the Harbourlife festival in Sydney.



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