Let the punishment fit the crime

22/10/2010

The problem of freedom campers in vehicles without loos isn’t confined to rural areas.

A friend in Wanaka noticed something smelly on his shoe after he’d been out to pick up his paper early one morning.

When he went out later to check where it came from he found it wasn’t dog pooh but human. He’d seen a van parked outside his property earlier but it was long gone when he realised what the occupants had left behind.

He said on another occasion he’d seen a station wagon parked opposite his home one evening, next morning he saw a young woman wander out of the nieghbouring property, pulling up her trousers.

 Fortunately not everyone gets away with fouling public property:

Three Spanish tourists spent three hours in Te Anau yesterday picking up human waste after being caught by police for defecating on the grass verge at the end of a residential street.

The trio “volunteered” for community work as an alternative to a court appearance, Sergeant Tod Hollebon, of Te Anau, said in a statement yesterday.

Acting on a complaint from a member of the public, police found two women and a man near a rental van, which was not equipped with a toilet.

“There was washing drying on a fence and clearly the group had made themselves at home.”

After initially denying their activities, they admitted they had been using an “outside toilet”. . .

Generations of New Zealanders have been travelling round Europe in vans which aren’t self-contained but Europe doesn’t usually have the vast distances between settlements that we do here.

You might have some understanding for people caught short in the middle of nowhere because the distance between facilities was greater than expected but not for setting up camp at the end of a residential street.

As an alternative to a court appearance, the three tourists volunteered for community service.

They spent three hours “picking up exactly what they and others had deposited” around Te Anau roadside rest areas.

“All parties found this to be a positive outcome,” Sgt Hollebon said.

How good it is to see that police still have the ability to ensure the punishment fits the crime.


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