'Weapon alert' in Sth Ballina
POLICE officers inspect a vehicle in South Ballina, the driver of which was suspected of being in possession of a firearm.
POLICE initiated a swift response following calls from the public that a man was in possession of a firearm in South Ballina yesterday.
About mid-morning, the man’s van had become bogged in the front yard of a house along River Road.
Another man helping him decided not to free the van when he suspected the man was intoxicated and drove off, leaving him bogged.
Other members of the public said the man became verbally aggressive towards them, said Detective Sergeant Ashley Bryant from Ballina Police.
At one point the witnesses believed he was reaching into the rear of the vehicle to get a firearm and called the police, he said.
“That instigated a high-risk incident response,” Det-Sgt Bryant said. Police set up perimeters to contain the situation and kept him under surveillance until a negotiator arrived.
The man, a Queenslander aged 27 who was known to police, was later arrested.
He did not have a firearm but he was in possession of a sling-shot and a knife.
He will receive an order to appear in court to face charges of possessing prohibited articles and carrying a cutting weapon.
There had been a “significant police response because of the allegation of the firearm”, Det-Sgt Bryant said.
A number of police vehicles were involved to guard the perimeter and personnel on the ground, including the negotiator, detectives and members of the State Protection Support Unity (SPSU).