While Sydney’s iconic harbour foreshore remained relatively empty on New Year’s Eve, police were forced to break up large gatherings of hundreds in a park in western Sydney twice.
NSW police said that while they were generally happy with behaviour of revellers across the state, they were kept busy responding to reports of “potential Covid breaches” in the suburbs.
In a western Sydney park police attended twice on Thursday evening to disperse a crowd of “more than 500 people” gathered for an illegal fireworks display.
NSW Police told Yahoo News Australia officers were called to a park on Bright Street, Guildford, following reports of a large public gathering about 8pm.
After moving the crowd on, they were called again after more than 500 people attended the park at 11pm.
A short time later police said a number of fireworks were set off before crowds were once again ordered to move on.
‘More than the bridge’
A video posted to Instagram shows a large illegal fireworks display at the Guildford park with people gathered to watch.
Social media users described as more exciting than the fireworks display on Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“Guildford went off more than the bridge lol Happy New Year,” the video was captioned.
“Haha! It sure did,” one amused local replied.
Others compared it to illegal displays in their suburbs.
“And we thought it was bad around us,” one user wrote tagging a friend.
One user blamed the ban on gathering around they Sydney Harbour foreshore to watch the iconic annual fireworks display.
“Can’t go to the harbour for the fireworks, so bring the fireworks to you,” a person wrote.
Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said on Friday morning that “it was still disappointing to see some people being reckless and disregarding the rules.”
Police called to large Villawood NYE gathering
Mr Willing confirmed the riot squad was called in to break up a “very large crowd” gathered in the Villawood area to “watch a huge display of illegal fireworks” but said inquiries were still being made into the number of breaches at both the Guildford and Villawood gatherings.
“There are a number of matters that are currently under investigation in leading to further breaches that were potentially committed by commercial premises, and a larger Airbnb party in the Hills district that may see up to 30 infringement notices issued,” Mr Willing said.
“The majority of people were well-behaved and enjoyed celebrations safely, with a few exceptions.”
NSW Police issued seven $1000 Penalty Infringement Notices to individuals and five $5000 Penalty Infringement Notices to businesses.
Across NSW, 219 arrests were made, and 290 charges were laid for various offences.
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