Nearly 200 people were caught with illicit drugs during an extended police sniffer dog operation at this year’s Byron Bay Falls Festival.
Detective Inspector Matthew Kehoe from Byron Police said officers seized 750 grams of illicit substances during the operation, including ketamine, cocaine, cannabis, MDMA, mushroom, LSD and methamphetamine.
‘We’re still seeing a lot of people bringing drugs into festivals,’ Inspector Kehoe said.
‘We ran a drug dog operation over three days which led to 190 drug detections.’
‘That’s higher than last year, which corresponds with the lengthier operation.’
The drug detection figures from this year’s event dwarfed those from previous years.
There were just five drug detections at the 2016-17 event and 27 in 2015-16.
Those found in possession of drugs faced a range of penalties including criminal charges, cautions (for cannabis only) and eviction from the festival (at the discretion of the organisers).
Inspector Kehoe said there had not been any serious injuries during this year’s event, though medical services did have to transport a number of people to local hospitals for treatment.
Meanwhile, Byron Bay locals awoke on New Year’s Day to a sea of beer bottles and cans in Apex Park and Main Beach.
‘That was the one thing we were disappointed about,’ Inspector Kehoe said of New Year’s celebrations in the bay.
‘We don’t want to be the fun police but when you see people walking into the park with six eskies full of grog it’s not good.
‘I’ll be working with council over the coming year to try and make sure the message gets through more clearly next time that the parl is an alcohol-free zone.’