CAUGHT ON CCTV: Cops filmed Nimbin drug laneway for 6 months
COVERT video surveillance of Rainbow Ln, taken over a six-month period, was one of several investigative methods used by police to arrest 11 people at Nimbin on Tuesday.
Lismore police Chief Inspector Nicole Bruce said police used a number of methods to gain intelligence on alleged drug dealing at Nimbin.
Ten of the 11 men arrested have since been granted conditional bail.
Police bail forms before Lismore Local Court this week revealed one of the methods police used as part of Strike Force Cuppa.
“Police have extended and clear video footage obtained via a Supreme Court warrant that show the accused’s activity,” was the reason police initially denied some of the accused bail.
Charges showed the video surveillance had been conducted between January 31 and when the arrests were made on June 28.
Locals were outraged in 2005 when five CCTV cameras were installed in Nimbin’s Cullen St.
The cameras send live footage back to Nimbin police station.
Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the use of covert video surveillance over six months around Rainbow Ln was “scary”.
“I think the community is going to be horrified when they find out that police have been filming Rainbow Ln since January,” he said.
“Probably more arrests are going to come.
“The sad bit is those boys do more policing of Nimbin than the police themselves.
“They’re responsible for Nimbin having way less ice than virtually any other country town.
“At some point there has to be some separation of cannabis away from the other illegal drugs because cannabis is completely different.
“It’s a dried herb compared to all these chemicals and pills.”
Mr Balderstone said ‘The Lane Boys’ often helped people who required medicinal cannabis.
“I’ve seen those boys giving away large amounts of cannabis for free to people who desperately need it for medical purposes.”
He said he felt sorry for the police involved in the raids.
“At some point police should be given some discretion, some freedom when dealing with cannabis.”
“At the moment cannabis is classed as being in the same basket as ice, which is just crazy.
“The thing we are all sad about is that Rainbow Ln used to be a problem, but now it’s got a lot of integrity attached to it because people use scales and give honest deals, which never used to happen.”