Drunken team's spree prompts police call

POLICE want Murwillumbah business people to use their financial clout as sponsors to haul local sports teams into line after riotous behav- iour in the town CBD on Saturday night.

Murwillumbah Police Inspector Ross Wilkinson yesterday revealed a rogue sporting team spilled out of licensed premises in the town on Saturday night, smashed windows and "took it on themselves to fight everyone else".

He appealed to the monthly breakfast meeting of the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber for help in hauling sports teams into line.

"If your business is being represented by a sporting team not doing the right thing, perhaps you need to place pressure on them to raise their standards," he said.

His plea mirrors recent calls by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for sports stars to support a $53 million government campaign against binge drinking, which focuses heavily on sporting clubs.

Inspector Wilkinson said the latest riotous behaviour in Murwillumbah took place the same night that a "person with mental health issues" attempted "to drive through the police station", ramming steel security gates at the rear.

He declined to reveal the identity of the sports team, saying only that "a number of people have been spoken to".

However Inspector Wilkinson welcomed a new initiative from National Party MP Thomas George, backed by the chamber, which involves sending every Murwillumbah household a Crime Report Form.

Mr George has published a Murwillumbah newsletter asking residents to "help me fight crime in Murwillumbah" and which includes a full-page form for reporting crime.

He asks residents to fill in details of a crime, ring them through to Murwillumbah Police Station, then send the form to his electorate office.

Inspector Wilkinson said he was pleased to see this initiative from Thomas George, but went on to assure the business breakfast perceptions that Murwillumbah youth were causing many of the problems in the town were not correct.

He said it was the 17 to 24-year-old age group which police believe "need to curb their behavioural traits."

Launching the new crime initiative on behalf of Mr George, who was in parliament in Sydney yesterday, chamber director Murray Lees urged business people to support it.

Mr Lees said the business chamber would be backing a plan to make next month, May, "report all crime in Murwillumbah month".



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