COVID-19 in Armidale: New England Police chief says operation Stay at Home is his first priority

Police out in force

A man who used public transport from Sydney to reach regional NSW has been jailed for two months.

The 31-year-old from Cabramatta who arrived in Armidale, in the NSW New England region, on Sunday without a valid reason, police said.

New England Area District Acting Commander David Cooper said when the matter went before Armidale Local Court on Monday the severity of the sentence reflected the importance being placed on policing lockdown breaches.

"He had no valid reason to be here, and he was arrested and charged with breaching the Public Health Act, bail refused and taken before Armidale Court on Monday where he was sentenced to two months imprisonment," he said.

A/Supt Cooper said it was the first time since the pandemic began that he had heard of such a strong response to a lockdown breach in NSW.

"He was imprisoned on that breach alone, and that to me illustrates the seriousness of it," A/Supt Cooper said. "He now has a criminal record."

A/Supt Cooper said the man was in the custody of Corrective Services and will undergo a COVID-19 test.

"We were able to establish that he was not a known close contact and was not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms" he said.

Since midnight on Saturday a total of 31 infringements have been issued across the New England Police district. In the last 24 hours, New England Police have issued 10 Public Health Act infringement fines of $1000 each.

Five of those were issued in Armidale, two were issued in Inverell, and three were issued at Moree.

"NSW Police is definitely in a compliance and enforcement phase, and we are trying to do our best to ensure that people are properly educated," A/Supt Cooper said.

"People have to know by now that we are in lockdown and understand what the rules are - that is why we are moving into giving infringement notices.

"It is certainly not something we take any pleasure in doing, but if people are not going to do the right thing, that is what is going to happen."

A/Supt Cooper said the infringements related to the movement of people and not wearing facemasks with many fines given to people shopping in company.

This story Lockdown breacher jailed for two months first appeared on The Armidale Express.