EIGHT teenagers from Sydney have each been fined $1000 after being found staying at an Airbnb in Batemans Bay.
NSW Regional Field Operations Deputy Commissioner Mick Willing has described the group, who travelled from their Sydney homes to the South Coast to stay before having to return to university in Canberra, as "irresponsible".
The octet from the North Shore and Eastern Suburbs were caught after being "dobbed in" by members of the public while staying at Catalina, south of Batemans Bay.
The group had travelled from Balgowlah Heights, Bellevue Hill, Bondi, Dover Heights and Edgecliff to stay at the property.
Mr Willing described the group's actions as "totally irresponsible" and a "blatant disregard for health orders".
"As a group it was totally irresponsible," he said.
"And to claim they were not aware of the public health orders is ridiculous."
Mr Willing said it is believed the group have travelled "directly from Sydney to Batemans Bay".
"Our understanding is they had not stopped anywhere along the coast on their way south," he said.
It is understood the group stayed at the location overnight before being discovered by police and sent back to Sydney.
"They were staying in Batemans Bay before heading back to university at Canberra," Mr Welling said.
"It was just totally ignoring the public health order.
"It was a great thing that community members picked up the phone and notified authorities.
It was a great thing that community members picked up the phone and notified authorities.Deputy Commissioner Mick Willing
"At the end of the day if the police don't catch you, the community will. They have got their eyes and ears open and people doing the wrong thing will get caught.
"These communities know who the locals are, they know if someone is not a regular. And if you are doing the wrong thing you will get caught.
"Even in tourist locations like this, it's fantastic."
He said for the group to not know the current situation, especially with the amount of media coverage and public comment is hard to fathom.
"To not be aware or claim to not be aware is ridiculous," he said.
"The vast majority of people are doing the right thing.
"Earlier this week the positive case visiting Goulburn just highlights the need to keep this virus out of regional areas.
"'Regional NSW has largely avoided the issues facing Greater Sydney and we have to do everything we can to protect those regions - its communities, its industry and ensure the virus doesn't leak out to the regions.
"In the past couple of weeks, for whatever reason people have just ignored public health orders and decided to travel to regional areas - be it to travel to holiday homes or for recreational reasons.
"Some people don't believe the orders apply to them ....they do!"
At the end of the day if the police don't catch you, the community will. They have got their eyes and ears open and people doing the wrong thing will get caught.Deputy Commissioner Mick Willing
Officers from South Coast Police District attended the short-term rental property at Catalina, south of Batemans Bay, about 3.15pm on Wednesday, July 14, after receiving information the Sydneysiders were staying there.
Police were told the eight people - aged between 18 and 19 - had travelled from their homes at Balgowlah Heights, Bellevue Hill, Bondi, Dover Heights, and Edgecliff to the stay at the property.
Inquiries established they were in breach of the public health orders and were each issued with a $1000 fine before being directed to return home via the most direct route.
Mr Willing thanked the South Coast community for their assistance in enforcing the public health orders.
"This case really shows that Sydneysiders have nowhere to hide in regional areas at the moment," he said.
"If you live in Greater Sydney and are thinking of travelling in contravention of the public health order, you should be aware that if police don't pull you over proactively, the community will let us know you're there.
"Regional people are actively working with police to protect themselves and their loved ones, which is so important given the incredibly contagious nature of the Delta strain."
He also praised South Coast Police saying they were doing "a fantastic job".
"Police are doing a tremendous job on the South Coast. We have an operation in the three regional areas where we are targeting arterial roads, back roads, business compliance and focussing on people abiding by the health orders," he said.
"Our regional police live in these communities and they are doing everything they can to keep them safe. We all have to do that.
"And if that means picking up the phone to report something to Crime Stoppers I encourage you to do it."
He said last weekend alone Crime Stoppers received more than 3000 COVID-related calls.
Police issued more than 200 penalty infringement notices (PINs) for breaches of the Public Health Act in the past 24 hours across NSW.
Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
Information is treated in strict confidence.