POLICE are investigating multiple reports of people breaching self-isolation orders across the Tamworth, Gunnedah and wider Oxley policing district.
NSW Police have already issued $1000 on-the-spot fines to four women - three in Sydney and one near Newcastle - for breaching strict government coronavirus control orders.
And, several locals have dobbed in people they suspect are flouting self-isolation orders including not quarantining or staying at home, when instructed.
Police have had reports in Tamworth, Narrabri as well as Gunnedah of incidents where people have gone into banks; out to shop; or conducting group exercises, in contravention of social distancing measures.
- Woman stabbed multiple times, another charged after late-night fight
- New England woman accused of offering child to strangers for sex abuse
- New cases of COVID-19 confirmed as Tamworth's total rises to nine
- Guns stolen in two separate break-ins to homes within the same night
- Sheep killed in truck rollover accident near Spring Ridge
Oxley Superintendent Kylie Endemi said "disturbingly" her police had been alerted locally to many reports and "many warnings have been given" by authorities up until now, but they won't tolerate it anymore.
"Every breach is serious," she said.
And, the district's police chief didn't mince her words.
"It's unfathomable to me, it's disturbing, I cannot understand why people would continue to breach the orders, and the directions and the advice that has been given to them, that is why we continue to enforce it," she said.
"We will continue to use them because there seems to be no other way to ensure that people are now going to comply."
More patrols have been launched, including of hot spots like parks and playgrounds. She's urged people to report the breaches to Crime Stoppers so Oxley police can act.
"We will continue to conduct proactive patrols like we have been doing, right across our district, we will remain highly visible," Superintendent Endemi said.
"I remind anyone at this time who chooses to participate in criminal behaviour that as always it will not be tolerated.
"Please help us, support us and and our other emergency service workers so that we can all get through this time together."
Tough penalties to send a message and stop fearmongering
Businesses that flout the control orders face $5000 fines, with a massage parlour in Sydney already hit, as well as individual staff.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the tough penalties was "a very clear message that you need to do the right thing".
"The message is very clear, whether you're in Nundle, Gunnedah, Werris Creek, Tamworth, Attunga, Somerton, Walcha; you name it, treat it as if the virus is here. It is here in Tamworth and there is no doubt that some other areas might have the virus and we have not found out about it yet," he said.
Mr Anderson said now that Hunter New England Health had been forced by NSW Health to publish the local council areas of confirmed COVID-19 cases, it would stop fearmongering on social media that he blamed for peddling fear.
"They have realised that communication is key; if they leave a void then someone will jump on it," he said.
"Keyboard warriors send the wrong message, so it's really important that the correct communication, open through clear lines of what is happening in our community is now happening."
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