‘Cops can rip up Splendour tickets'

FESTIVALGOERS caught with drugs at Splendour in the Grass may as well throw $375 down the drain, with police warning tickets will be ripped up.

Police say they will be out in force over the three-day annual music event at Byron Bay.

Tweed-Byron local area command crime manager, ­Detective Inspector Brendon Cullen, said police would be working around the clock.

“There will be a highly visible police presence throughout the whole festival, both within the festival precinct and outside,” he said.

“Police are warning festivalgoers that those who turn up with illicit drugs will be palmed from the venue.”

The event, which is set to attract around 36,000 people each day, kicks off on Friday and runs over the weekend.

Insp Cullen said the policing operation was there to ­ensure public safety.

“We’re not there as killjoys but we also have a role to play in law enforcement – especially anti-social or violent behaviour will not be tolerated.

“If people come in thinking they’re going to be supplying drugs or having a free run with making it a drug festival, they should be concerned that they are likely to be detected and ­removed from the festival.”

The event organisers have confirmed they will work with police to crack down of drug use and supply and said the policy had always been in the ticket terms and conditions.

Insp Cullen said this year police will be tougher than ever and those thinking about avoiding buying a ticket and jumping the fence should also reconsider.

“Police will be prosecuting people who are caught fence jumping and we’ve put on extra police to assist us with that and they will be prosecuted for trespass,” he said.

Those caught breaking any rules could be faced with on-the-spot fines through to ­arrest.

Insp Cullen said drug use at festivals like Splendour was a particular concern.

“A lot of young people associate music festivals with drug taking and the concern we have is that they don’t know what it is they’re taking,” he said. “While they may think it’s just a harmless pill, the fact remains … people taking pills have been known to have adverse reactions and die.”

Police arrested 92 people on drug offences at last year’s event, seizing 468g of illicit substances.

Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, also joined the calls.

“I would really warn people about trying to smuggle drugs,” he said.

“Unfortunately, time and time again people will panic at the gates when they see the drug dogs and they will consume a number of tablets which often causes fairly significant health issues.”

Originally published as ‘Cops can rip up Splendour tickets'

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