Two ‘naked sunbathers’ have copped fines for breaking Sydney’s COVID rules after getting lost in the Royal National Park and being rescued by SES crews.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller revealed on Monday the two men had been rescued after getting lost in the bush – nude – during a strict lockdown of greater Sydney.
“Unbelievably, we saw two men sunbaking naked on a beach on the South Coast,” Mr Fuller said.
“They were startled by a deer, ran into the national forest, national park, and got lost.
“Not only did they require assistance from SES and police to rescue them, they also both received a ticket for $1000.”
The men were among 44 people issued with fines for breaching public health orders on Sunday, including four also fined $200 for not wearing a mask.
It is unclear whether the naked pair were wearing face coverings, but the commissioner was particularly scornful of their actions.
“It’s difficult to legislate against idiots,” he said.
“Then getting lost in the national park and diverting important resources away from the health operation, I think they should be embarrassed.”
NSW Police said the men called for help about 6pm Sunday (AEST) after “becoming lost in bushland during a visit to a remote beach”.
Members of the SES, NSW Ambulance, Polair and Police Rescue were sent to the area to try to locate the men.
A 30-year-old man “naked and carrying a backpack” was found first. He was on a walking track near Lady Wakehurst Drive – more than 55 kilometres south of Sydney’s CBD.
The search party later found a 49-year-old man who they said was “partially clothed”.
The men told police they had been hanging out at a beach nearby when a deer startled them, causing them to flee into the bush. Then they got lost.
They were both issued with fines for breaching lockdown rules prohibiting travel outside the greater Sydney region.
NSW Police also fined a man who disrupted Monday’s COVID media briefing from health authorities. The Darlinghurst man interrupted as Mr Fuller was speaking, asking if the Commissioner had received his notice of ‘cease and desist’ and that he was the prime creator of this Earth.
NSW Police said later that “disrupting a press conference” was not a reason to leave home under Sydney’s lockdown laws. The man was also fined $1000.
Mr Fuller said only a small percentage of NSW people were bending the rules, but those who did so would be punished.
NSW residents are not shy in assisting law enforcement to catch out anyone doing the wrong thing, with hundreds of dob-in calls made to police over the weekend.
Coffs Harbour’s Harbourside Markets manager Kim Towner told the ABC holidaymakers who arrive in the mid-north coast town in breach of the lockdown would be reported, even though dobbing “goes against our culture”.
“You could be saving a lot of lives,” Ms Towner said.
Public health physician David Durrheim said he was worried people might have left Sydney before last weekend’s lockdown started, taking the virus to regional areas.
“The Premier has made it very clear that Sydneysiders should not be travelling to the regions for the moment,” Dr Durrheim told the ABC.
“We don’t welcome Sydneysiders.”