One-day blitz shows drugs aren't hidden from traffic police

The police parked the testing bus in the middle of Coffs Harbour to give maximum visibility to the drug driving detection operation.
The police parked the testing bus in the middle of Coffs Harbour to give maximum visibility to the drug driving detection operation. Frank Redward

A ONE day 'DnA' operation targeting drink and drug driving in central Coffs Harbour has seen eight motorists issued with notices of prohibition and all samples sent for analysis.

Specialist officers used a customised and highly visible Winnebago vehicle parked on the Pacific Highway as a base for the operation while police crews patrolled main roads and back streets, making random stops.

Drivers were first given a breath analysis for alcohol, followed by a drug preliminary test.

Coffs-Clarence LAC crime manager, Detective Inspector Darren Jameson, said eight drivers returned positive roadside drug readings and were then arrested for the purpose of a secondary test at the drug testing bus.

"Cannabis and amphetamine-types substances were detected in most of the drivers which is of concern," he said.

"Not only for the type of drugs but the number that we detected.

"These are hard drugs.

"Cannabis is not a soft drug.

"Methamphetamine, ecstasy ... these are not party drugs but hard, illicit drugs that have long term serious affects on not only the person but also on the community."

In Coffs Harbour, arrests were made in Ocean Parade (4.36pm), Phillip Street (11.33am), Prince Street (12.30pm), Park Beach Road (12.40pm), Pacific Highway (6.55pm) and two in Northside Lane (2.40pm and 5.45pm).

One arrest was made at Barcoo Court, Toormina (3.50pm).

All samples will be tested at the NSW Forensic and Analytical Science Service at Lidcombe with results available in about two weeks.

"If positive tests are found then the drivers will be charged and put before the courts," DI Jameson said.

"Penalties are the same or similar for alcohol-related offences.

"It's a shame this seems to be a symptom of community culture where the abuse of drugs and alcohol is accepted.

"Whether this is a widespread attitude, I can't really say.

"But what I can say is that this Local Area Command is not going to stand by and ignore the problem.

"The bus may come back again in the near future.

"This visit is part of the concentrated campaign against drugs that we've undertaken over the past six months and there will be no letting up."

A 'DnA' operation was conducted in Bellingen on Friday with final results still being compiled.

Topics:  drug testing

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