Newcastle Herald: Party with 200 guests hit with fine for breaking COVID rules in Argenton

(21 December) BOTTLES and verbal abuse were hurled at police while officers were shutting down an illegal backyard party in Lake Macquarie over the weekend

Just after 9pm Saturday officers attended a property on Montgomery Street, Argenton after reports a gathering was breaking COVID-19 rules. Police allege they arrived to find a marque, DJ and 200 juveniles in the backyard drinking alcohol.

This contravened the health minister’s direction that only 50 people can congregate at a private premise with an outdoor area, so the party was shut down and both owners of the home were fined $1000 each.

When police started to shut the party down they were allegedly verbally abused and some party guests threw bottles at officers. The attack on police has been labelled ‘unacceptable’ by Police Association of NSW Northern Region One executive Ian Allwood.

“You’ve got to remember that they are just normal people and don’t deserve to be assaulted at work,” he said.

“This is never acceptable.”

This is not the first time local officers were targeted while trying to police COVID rules, after three officers sustained minor injuries, with one requiring medical treatment, when a Halloween party got out of hand at Glendale in October.

Mr Allwood said this type of attack on officers was more common in coastal areas of NSW, especially in popular holiday locations. He said in a year where officers had taken on 30 per cent more workload to help with the state’s COVID response, this type of behavior towards police was especially hard to swallow. Investigations into the Argenton incident are continuing and police expect to issue more fines over the coming days.

“This should serve as a warning to parents and juveniles alike as we move into the festive season that breaches of the health minister’s direction will lighten your pocket,” a police statement said.

People with dashcam footage taken in Argenton and Glendale around the time of this incident are encouraged to contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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