$30,000 in fines handed to Sydney tree lopping business who was operating in the Hunter

Police have handed a Sydney tree lopping business more than $30,000 in fines after they were caught operating in the Hunter region. 

Police received a number of reports via Crime Stoppers on Wednesday about groups of arborists who had been canvassing the Lake Macquarie area for work. 

Police spoke with one of the groups yesterday who told officers they had been working in the region on weekdays and returning to Greater Sydney on weekends, including to LGAs of concern.

Inquiries revealed the 27-year-old company owner’s Service NSW permit to leave Greater Sydney to enter Regional NSW contained untrue and inaccurate information.

Further inquiries revealed that the 25-year-old co-owner of the business did not have a permit to leave Greater Sydney for work purposes in Regional NSW, and that other employees hadn’t had a COVID-19 test prior to leaving Greater Sydney, as required under the Public Health Order.

As a result, police issued seven men – aged between 25 and 61 – Penalty Infringement Notices totalling $33,000 for the offences of leave Greater Sydney for prescribed purposes without a permit, fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to s 7/8/9 – COVID-19, not comply with requirements for testing – workers leaving Greater Sydney and not ensure true and accurate information provided to Service NSW

All seven men were directed to return to their homes in Greater Sydney.

Investigations into other reports from the community are ongoing.

A separate investigation is ongoing into another Sydney company also accused of breaching health orders to work in the Hunter.

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

Image credit: NSW Police Facebook page

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