They don’t call it the Silly Season for nothing
- Nick Possum
- Thursday, 10 January 2013
Back in the day, this old PI sometimes kept himself busy through the madness between Christmas Eve and the beginning of the second week of January by doing some contract intelligence work for the Rural Fire Service. I’d sit around analysing incoming wildfire reports and cross-reference them against the historic record and try to pick whether we were dealing with arson. And then I’d tune into my marsupial intuition have a go at predicting where the arsonist might strike next.
My little Silly Season earner sort of petered out during the run of wet years and now I notice the cops have a strike force that handles these things.
The level of Silly Season dumbness must keep the cops in a state of bemusement and despair.
Take the story of the Macquarie River New Year’s Eve fireworks fuckup.
A 29-year-old man will appear in court for bushfire and explosive offences after illegal fireworks he set off on New Year’s Eve started a fire which has burned out around 500 hectares of bushland in the Central West.
The fireworks were let off at a campsite near the Macquarie River at Long Point. Police were told one of the fireworks fell over and shot across the river to dry scrubland which caught alight.
The alleged offender swam across the river and attempted to extinguish the fire, suffering burns to his left shoulder, but was unsuccessful.
Well at least it was an accidental piece of dumbness.
Newcastle Police have charged three juveniles with deliberately lighting bushfires over a period of two days, near the John Hunter Hospital at Newcastle. On Friday January 4, Fire and Rescue attended three fires near the hospital after having put out a number of fires lit in the same area the previous night.
Police “conducted inquiries” into a group of young males who were seen acting suspiciously in the area at the time of the fires and “attended” homes at Elermore Vale and Wallsend where they arrested three teenager boys who’ve been charged with “intentionally cause fire and recklessness as to its spread” (I just love the understated tone of the police media releases).
On the Saturday, there was another deliberately-lit bushfire at Booti Booti National Park which closed a number of roads and isolated the township of Green Point but nobody was apprehended, which is a pity.
It wasn’t just dumbness with matches, there was dumbness involving cars and screwdrivers too.
Cops were “left speechless” after pulling over an unsupervised learner driver at Liverpool on Saturday January 4. The 18-year-old driver had four “unrestrained passengers” in the car, including two young children.
He was subsequently issued court attendance notices for “unaccompanied learner, not displaying L-plates, not carrying licence, driver not wearing seatbelt and two counts of driving with passenger over six months but under four years not restrained”.
Around the same time that afternoon, police allege a 54-year-old cabbie stabbed a passenger with a screwdriver. According to the cops, the 34-year-old passenger had argued with the driver over the route taken from Rhodes to Parramatta. The passenger had paid his fare but then kicked the taxi without damaging it, after which there was a further altercation and he was stabbed. The cabbie left the scene but was apprehended in Mosman, “conveyed to Ryde Police Station” and charged with reckless wounding.
But probably the dumbest story of all happened on Friday January 4, just after 5am, when Fire and Rescue were called to a house fire in Ryde following reports of smoke coming from the premises. Gladesville cops tried to enter the place but a female occupant tried to stop them. Having dealt with this obstruction, the fireys and the cops dragged from the premises a 50-year-old man with serious burns and rushed him to Royal North Shore Hospital where he remains in a critical condition and in an induced coma.
The woman was arrested and charged with manufacturing a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and hindering police. The cops allege at they found two kilograms of white powder believed to be methylamphetamine with a street value of $400,000. Subsequently, a search warrant was executed at the woman’s Connells Point unit where “a large amount of cash and other items were located”.
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