Police put Royal National Park hoons on notice

Wollongong Highway Patrol supervisor sergeant Stewart Arnold and residents are keen to see dangerous drivers gone from the northern Illawarra and Royal National Park. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wollongong Highway Patrol supervisor sergeant Stewart Arnold and residents are keen to see dangerous drivers gone from the northern Illawarra and Royal National Park. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

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Police are in the midst of a major crackdown on hoons who treat the Royal National Park and roads of the northern Illawarra like a racetrack, with some dangerous drivers caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h.

Responding to community concerns, Wollongong Highway Patrol recently undertook a major high-visibility operation, charging scores of hoons who were found speeding, drifting and driving unroadworthy vehicles.

During the operation police caught nine drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h.

Those drivers had their licences confiscated on the spot. 

Wollongong Highway Patrol supervisor sergeant Stewart Arnold passes a damaged Armco road barrier on Lady Wakehurst Drive near Otford. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wollongong Highway Patrol supervisor sergeant Stewart Arnold passes a damaged Armco road barrier on Lady Wakehurst Drive near Otford. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Three people were caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 20km/h, and one person was found driving a prohibited vehicle.

Two vehicles were found to have been making excessive noise and will be subject to Office of Environment and Heritage noise tests.

A police pursuit also occurred when officers discovered a stolen car.

The driver was arrested and charged after attempting to escape on foot.

Wollongong Highway Patrol supervisor Sergeant Stewart Arnold said police would continue to focus on bringing hoons in the area to justice.

‘‘We are increasing patrols with marked and unmarked patrols vehicles,’’ he said.

‘‘Looking at all this behaviour, anyone detected doing the wrong thing, there will be minimal discretion and they will be dealt with accordingly.

‘‘What we find up there is we have persons coming down from Sydney, going through the National Park, doing drifting and that’s a major concern for us.’’

Long-time northern Illawarra resident Ro Simmons congratulated police on their work, but said more needed to be done to limit the amount of noise caused by traffic at night.

She called for partial closures of the Royal National Park and new regulations on vehicle noise limits.

 ‘‘It is distressing because we really simply can’t sleep,’’ she said.

‘‘The police have been immensely supportive and we’re extremely grateful for their support ... [but] there’s still a long way to go.

 ‘‘They [hoons] are very loud when they’re going at speed ... which really brings that whole question of reviewing our current noise levels.’’

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