Police patrols on lookout for holidaymakers

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HOLIDAYMAKERS visiting the Mornington Peninsula over Easter and planning to stay at holiday rentals, such as Airbnb properties, run the risk of being turned around and sent home.

Somerville CIU Senior Sergeant Steve Wood, of the Frontline Tasking Unit, said police were already patrolling major thoroughfares, such as Peninsula Link and the Nepean Highway, looking for “obvious” visitors and pulling them over.

“The rules are that people must stay at home and not undertake non-essential travel – and travel to holiday rental properties is non-essential,” he said.

“This applies to rentals regardless of when they were booked.”

Senior Sergeant Wood said dedicated police patrols, which included four sergeants and 19 other police, would conduct “random intercepts” on cars carrying four or five people, were crammed with camping equipment, or were towing boats, caravans or camper trailers.

“We’ll be asking them the purpose of their travel and whether or not it is to a holiday rental property or whether they intend camping or whatever. If they can’t provide a legitimate reason they will be turned around,” he said.

“Travel to legitimate holiday houses owned by the family to which they regularly go is permitted provided they intend staying there and not going on outings in that community.”

Proof of ownership includes a rates notice or other documentation.

“We are also trying to minimise the number of day trippers visiting the peninsula. If they have no legitimate purpose in being down here then they shouldn’t be here.”

Senior Sergeant Wood said police had earlier intended setting up road blocks on the major thoroughfares but had decided against it in favour of the random intercepts as these would be less disruptive to traffic flows.

He said patrols started first thing Thursday morning 9 April and would continue until midnight Monday.

Senior Sergeant Wood’s comments were supported by the mayor Cr Sam Hearn: “Our local community has done a really fantastic job over the past few weeks in flattening the curve on the peninsula.

“It would be incredibly disappointing and disheartening to see this effort undermined by having tens of thousands of people travel down here from other parts of the state over the Easter weekend. It’s not ‘business as usual’ and there’s no need for it!”

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