January 2nd 2009
Alma booze party leads to "huge amount of prosecutions"
Magnetic Island Police Senior Sergeant Kerry Kraut will be approaching Townsville City Council to seek a lot more lighting at Alma Bay following the unofficial teenage party which occurred there on new years eve. According to Sergeant Kraut between 400 and 500, 14 to 17 year olds, many from Townsville, arrived at the beach for a party which resulted in what he described as a "huge amount of prosecutions".
One witness, Libby Illidge from Nelly Bay, who drove a friend to retrieve an intoxicated son from the party, was, "just amazed," by the scene.
"You know how when you see, in the movies, a mass evacuation of refugees. It was like that. There were people all over the road four or five abreast, walking along. You had to slow right down to get through.
"They were young, 15 to 17 perhaps and obviously very happy and cheery but intoxicated," said Libby who added, "if there had been violence," it could have got out of control quite easily.
There were 12 police on Magnetic Island on new years eve and Sergeant Kerry Kraut was at Alma Bay. He told Magnetic Times, "There were a huge amount of prosecutions. 18 juveniles received liquor infringement notices - a $220 fine for underage possession of alcohol."
Sergeant Kraut said he "lost count" of the number of bottles containing alcohol that police upended and that there were, "a lot more young people who were cautioned but not prosecuted due to the large numbers involved".
But while booze was clearly a big problem, according to Kerry Kraut, "There were no reports of serious assaults," but added, "There were a few incidents of agro in front of the Surf Club and a few alleged minor assaults"
Sergeant Kraut said, "I heard (from a reliable source) that kids were offering $100 for a carton of beer to people who had just been to the Arcadia Hotel bottleshop.
"Many (of the underage drinkers) tried to give a dodgey name and the majority were not carrying ID."
Supplying liquor to underage people, attracts a $600 fine.
Sergeant Kraut also commented on the darkness of Alma Bay at night. ""It is extremely dark at night and that can shroud bad behaviour. I will be recommending that council light it up like a Christmas tree."
By daylight the beach was, according to witnesses, pretty well empty of revellers but, in their place, was a huge mess with the beach literally covered with garbage. One local, Marie de Monchaux, told Magnetic Times, "The revellers had taken the red flag (warning swimmers that the beach had been closed due to Irukandji jellyfish being present in the water). The Council workers told us to wear shoes as there was so much broken glass left behind." Large amounts of garbage were also reported to have been strewn along Hayles Aveneue.
Story & photo: George Hirst
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