Flood “selfies” from disaster tourists prompt police message

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TWEED POLICE have issued a warning to those people attending the flood affected areas to sight see and take “selfies” with piles of rubbish, with Superintendent Wayne Starling stating the flood damage is not a “tourist attraction”.

Tweed/Byron Local Area Command firstly extended a “thank you” to those members of the community who are voluntarily assisting flood affected areas throughout Tumbulgum, Murwillumbah and Chinderah.

“However, there have been reports of some persons attending for sightseeing purposes and obtaining ‘selfies’ with large amounts of destroyed property pictured in the background,” Superintendent Starling said.

Tweed Shire Council has also taken action against disaster tourists and closed Tumbulgum to sight seers on Wednesday, April 5, with only volunteers and residents allowed to enter.

Superintendant Wayne Starling warned people that flood affected areas are “not tourist attractions”.

“A large number of our community members who were severely affected are focused on restoring their lives and property to some degree of normality,” he said.

“It is neither appropriate nor respectful to attend these areas for the sole purpose of sightseeing.

“Moreover, it may be dangerous given the condition of the roads in and around the area as well as the general condition of the area as the recovery process moves forward.

“As the weekend approaches, unless you are entering flood affected areas to provide community support, which is greatly appreciated by those affected, police ask that you consider the circumstances of our community members and not enter the disaster area.

“Police are actively patrolling flood affected areas and you will be turned away if you are attending as a disaster tourist; not only for your own safety but also so that the community can focus on the recovery effort.”

LOOTERS BE WARNED, POLICE SAY:

Tweed Police from the Tweed/Byron LAC are issuing a warning about looting following the Tweed Floods.

Following the recent flooding in Tumbulgum, Murwillumbah and Chinderah, police have received comments concerning potential looting within the affected areas.

As a result, officers from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command have increased the number of patrols within these areas.

The commander of Tweed/Byron Local Area Command, Superintendent Wayne Starling, has issued a warning to anyone who intends to use flooding to gain a profit.

“Some community members have messaged us on Facebook concerning possible looting. Police have been and will continue to patrol flood affected areas both in uniform and in plain clothes to detect potential thieves.

“Given the devastating situation faced by people in these disaster areas, anyone intending to place further hardship and stress upon members of our community and profit from the devastation by looting; be warned, if you choose to partake in this type of behaviour we will catch you and you will face the full force of the law,” said Superintendent Starling.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

We remind people they should not report crime information via Police Facebook and Twitter pages