Driver’s excuse for 45km trip rejected by virus cops
A Melbourne man tried hard to convince police he was breaking strict isolation laws to purchase a bottle of water, even though he was 45km from home.
Victoria Police slapped him with a $1600 fine and sent him on his way.
A police spokesperson said the man was intercepted while driving in South Melbourne and "claimed he was out to buy a bottle of water" even though he lives in Wantirna South.
He was one of 78 people who received fines on Wednesday for being out and about during Victoria's Stage 3 restrictions without a legitimate excuse.
Two men watching a movie in their car in a public place were also fined by Victoria Police on Wednesday.
Six others received fines for a prohibited gathering after telling police they were "just chilling". The group had been warned by officers to disperse earlier on Wednesday.
Four people tried to hide from police after "driving around aimlessly", a police spokesperson said. They each received a fine.
Victoria Police carried out a total of 1065 spot checks at homes, businesses and non-essential services around the state as part of Operation Sentinel.
The Age reports that Victoria Police has been assisted by vigilant members of the public who have reported people for doing the wrong thing.
Police reportedly receive 600 calls a day and have received more than 22,000 calls in the first week of April alone.
Police from NSW and Queensland are also cracking down. NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said this morning that driving should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
"If you have to go for a drive to do something reasonable that's fine," he said.
"But if you live at the beach and you're at the Blue Mountains with a caravan it's not going to cut the mustard."
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll, who earlier this week scolded people who were issued infringement notices after being caught "blatantly going for a drive", spoke about the issue on Sunrise.
"What we are finding is people are driving extensive distances, just to get on the road," she said.
"There has to be a set of rules everybody should abide by."
There are now more than 6000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia
Of those, 2773 people have been infected in NSW, 1212 in Victoria, 953 in Queensland, 420 in South Australia, 481 in Western Australia, 107 in Tasmania, 99 in the Australian Capital Territory and 28 in the Northern Territory.
The death toll has reached 51 after a South Australian man died on Wednesday.
- with Frank Chung
Originally published as Driver's excuse for 45km trip rejected