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Tuesday May 23rd, 2017

Posted at 8:56pm

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Photo from Rondeau Provincial Park

Police were kept busy at Rondeau Provincial Park this past long weekend.

Chatham-Kent OPP, Chatham-Kent Police Service and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry were present in the Rondeau Provincial Park from 6am on Friday, May 19th to 6am on Monday, May 22nd, 2017.

Over the course of the weekend, OPP say that 19 campsites were evicted, totaling 114 people, all of whom were subsequently trespassed from the park for the rest of the weekend.

They say that several of these youths came back on the following night and were arrested and charged for entering the park after being removed.

There was one assault on a Park Warden which is still under investigation.

Police also say that approximately $3,000 damage was caused to one of the washrooms facilities on Sunday night or Monday morning which is also under investigation. In addition, there were several minor criminal charges that are being investigated.

Six campsites were left damaged and/or full of garbage and personal possessions, and police say that possible charges may follow under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act for failing to restore the site to its original condition.

Park Wardens and OPP also dealt with one case of alcohol poisoning and one drug overdose where two males were transported to hospital.

OPP laid one charge for possession of cannabis and Park Wardens, and OPP combined laid approximately 35 charges, most related to possession of alcohol and trespassing in the park.

OPP also issued two three-day driver’s licence suspensions due to consumption of alcohol, and two males were arrested for public intoxication and held overnight.

“Our overall goal of ensuring that all the campers who enter the park on Friday leave the park safe and sound on Monday was met. We do, however, continue to be dismayed and alarmed at the ease which with youth are able to obtain alcohol and at some of the hundreds of social media posts made over the weekend detailing extremely high-risk behaviours,” said OPP in a news release.

“While we will certainly continue to have a presence in the park for future Victoria Day long weekends, we urge parents to have frank discussions with their kids about the risks of alcohol and drug usage, staying aware of their surroundings, driving while impaired, and the fact that enforcement officials don’t view criminal acts as ‘kids being kids’ but as serious incidents that will be investigated and prosecuted.”

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