26 May 2015

Page 3


Enter the Dragon to clean up streets Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au IN the first weekend of their crackdown on vandalism Hastings police handed out dozens of warnings and made three arrests. The “zero tolerance” Operation Dragon was started a week ago to counter a rising tide of vandalism, especially around Somerville Secondary College in Graf Rd, where vandals recently caused $4500 damage to building equipment and a rammed earth wall, as well as smashing windows and defacing a mural by Seaford artist Tony Sowersby, just one week before its completion. Other attacks have occurred at Somerville Rise Primary School and to community buildings. Police groups of teenagers roam Somerville streets late on Friday and Saturday nights “looking for trouble”, sometimes assaulting passers-by, and, in one case, threatening a police man with a bottle. Sergeant Glenn Michie said plain clothes police had patrolled known trouble spots late on Friday and Saturday nights, detecting 15 offences and issuing mainly warnings to young offenders. Most warnings were for underage drinking, possessing cannabis and

traffic offences - mostly while riding bicycles. “We spoke to 52 people,” Sergeant Michie said. “It was what we would term a quiet night because there were not many people about for some reason, and yet we were still able detect those offences.” One man was arrested over an outstanding warrant during the operation, which covered Somerville, Crib Point, Tyabb and Hastings. Two were arrested for possessing drugs of dependence and cautioned, and others for not wearing bicycle helmets. “It was a really pleasing result. Word had got around after Friday night and one teenager even told us: ‘Everyone knows you are out here, you know’. I said to him: Well, we got you for underage possession of alcohol, so what’s your point,” Sergeant Richie said. “We think it’s good to get the word out on social media because that will deter people from doing the wrong thing. All the reporting will make them more responsible: young people will tell their friends and then everyone will know we are out there. “It was ironic that, when we were cautioning the youths for not wearing bicycle helmets, a car came around the corner of Graf Rd and nearly cleaned them up.”

Danger flows: Hastings SES is warning that flood waters can be toxic and should be avoided at all costs.

Gearing up for the flood WINTER is almost here and Hastings SES volunteers are getting ready to respond to calls for help from storms and floods. The preparations to enable a quick response coincide with the national FloodSafe week (25-31 May) and an SES warning that “however many people are unaware of just how dirty, disgusting and dangerous floodwater can be”. The SES says that floodwaters can pick up “all kinds of awful materials, including toxic chemicals, animal faeces, decaying animals, garbage,

broken glass and rusted metal”. Kate Nangle from Hastings SES said this year’s focus was on “shining a light into the murky contents of floodwater”. “Entering floodwater is extremely dangerous. Drivers, parents and children need to be aware of what’s in that water and ensure they never enter floodwater,” she said. “Staying out of floodwater is an important part of keeping you and your family safe. Luckily, there are other simple ways you can prepare yourself, such as having a home emergency kit

and knowing where you’ll find information in an emergency. “We encourage everyone to use FloodSafe Week as an opportunity to interact with their local SES volunteers and learn how they can be prepared for the threat of flood. A little preparation goes a long way and we all need to take responsibility for our safety and learn the local flood risks.” For information about flooding or to join Hastings SES go www.seshastings.com.au or www.facebook.com/ seshastings

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