Two young men emerge from a battered Commodore and look around despondently.
A police officer gets in the driver’s seat and moves the car out of the way.
The P-plate driver folds his paperwork from the Sheriff, and he and his passenger begin walking away from the Altona Sports Centre carpark.
This is a scene from a joint operation between western region police and the Sheriff at Altona Meadows on Wednesday of last week.
By the day’s end, officers have netted 77 drivers with 621 unpaid fines, valued at more than $223,000.
The officers are using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to scan the number plates of westbound cars in Queen Street.
They’re checking for disqualified or unlicensed drivers, unregistered or stolen vehicles, and vehicles with outstanding warrants or unpaid fines.
Cars are herded into the centre carpark where Sheriff officers are waiting to collect unpaid fines.
Fifty-three people settle fines totalling $72,000.
Sergeant Adam Wojcik, who’s co-ordinating Operation Wyatt, points to a row of clamped cars belonging to drivers with large outstanding fines.
“I think there was one person who had $20,000, and they paid half of that up front,” he says.
Suddenly a Sheriff’s car turns on its siren and speeds out. Sergeant Wojcik says a car with stolen number plates has refused to pull over, done a U-turn and taken off.
“The idea is to target those that shouldn’t be on the road, and have outstanding warrants or fines that have already been issued that need to be paid,” he says.
Police issued 35 fines to unlicensed or unregistered drivers and four drivers were summonsed for licence offences. Seven drivers with 169 warrants valued at more than $63,000 were given seven days to pay or have their licences and registrations suspended.
Victoria’s Sheriff Brendan Facey says the operation reminds people of the serious consequences if they didn’t pay their fines.
“People with outstanding infringements run the risk of tough sanctions.”
To sort out outstanding fines, call 1300 SHERIFF or visit fines.vic.gov.au