TWO men from a Sydney hotspot were pulled up twice by police on Thursday trying to drive to Mudgee.
The men, one from Greystanes and the other from Picnic Point, were each issued with a $1000 fine and told to return to Sydney.
However, a short time later they were allegedly stopped at Mount Boyce, having ignored police directions and continuing on towards Mudgee.
They were both arrested and charged with failing to comply with the Public Health Order.
NSW Police Regional Field Operations Deputy Commissioner, Mick Willing, said the incident "was disappointing, irresponsible and frankly criminal."
He said police on the frontline were committed to keeping the region free of COVID, as were the people who lived there.
"Regional NSW, in my mind is doing everything they can to ensure they remain COVID-free.
"Police are out time and time again making sure people are doing the right thing. But this was a blatant disregard for not only the current health order, but people's safety," he said.
"There are three local government areas just west of Bathurst already locked down. The ramifications for the region if this virus spreads are pretty obvious.
"Yet we are still seeing this blatant disregard for the orders and hearing idiotic excuses for people coming into regional areas.
"One, it's disappointing, two it's irresponsible and three it's down right criminal behaviour," he said.
Deputy Commissioner Willing said he has the southern norther and western regions all working together to ensure COVID compliance.
"We are looking at arterial roads, back roads, we are doing all we can to stop people travelling out here.
"And we will continue to do all we can for as long as it needs to be done."
He said Sydney police were also working with regional areas, sharing intelligence and meeting on at least a daily basis.
"We are quite well connected to Sydney operations," he said.
We are looking at arterial roads, back roads, we are doing all we can to stop people travelling out here.NSW Police Regional Field Operations Deputy Commissioner, Mick Willing.
He also commended the community for being the eyes and ears of police.
"Crime Stopper reports have increased three fold, and each and every case will be investigated.
"I think people from regional or country areas, they know who should be there and shouldn't be there, and they are speaking up.
"Seventy per cent of infringement notices came from information given to Crime Stoppers," he said.
He said he has faith in regional communities to do the right thing and get through this.
"I know regional communities, I'm from Dubbo.
"And I find people in regional communities just roll up their sleeves, get in and do what's right.
"That is basically what we are seeing time and time again during this period. It's only the odd one or two people doing the wrong thing.
"By and large everyone is doing the right thing.
"The last thing we want to see is regional areas subject to restrictions.
"We want communities to work with police and get through this period."
Deputy Commissioner Willing congratulated Orange, Cabonne and Blayney for following the current health orders, saying a lack of any more positive cases in the past 24 hours was indicative that people there are doing the right thing.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone there," he said.
"I know this is frustrating please be patient, continue working with the police," he said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below ...