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Woman allegedly hides in back of truck to re-enter SA during first night of hard border closure

ABC Health logo ABC Health 30/07/2020
a man riding on the back of a truck: Police have been randomly checking trucks crossing the SA border. (ABC News: Isadora Bogle) © Provided by ABC Business Police have been randomly checking trucks crossing the SA border. (ABC News: Isadora Bogle)

A woman has been accused of hiding in the back of a truck to cross the South Australian border during the first night of the state's strengthened border closure with Victoria.

Police will allege that at some stage during Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, the 65-year-old Mount Gambier woman hid in a truck that drove back into the state from Victoria.

South Australians can no longer return to their home state from Victoria unless they are essential travellers, .

Police said the woman had spent several weeks in Victoria when they received a report on Thursday that she was back in SA, and she was then arrested.

She was charged with failing to comply with a direction and was refused bail to appear in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court today.

"Enquiries continue regarding the identity of the driver, and if they were aware that the woman was hiding in the truck," police said.

Police said any similar incidents should be reported immediately via the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

The arrest comes as concerns were raised just hours after the restrictions came into effect when a line-up of trucks were let through an SA border checkpoint without being checked for permits.

A truckie told ABC Radio Adelaide that he had lined up at the border to return to South Australia from Victoria during the first night of the state's strengthened border restrictions.

The truck driver, named Steve, said on his return back to South Australia at about 1:45am Wednesday, he had to line-up in a queue of trucks about 3-kilometres long.

When finally reaching the front of the queue at about 3:00am, he said all the trucks in line were then waved through at once, without being checked for permits.

"Didn't even stop, didn't even talk to me, just waved a wand at me and waved me on," he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

"Straight through … 80 trucks launched it straight away … I'm surprised there wasn't a fatal."

'There is a risk that must be accepted'

Yesterday, SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said there would always be a "risk" that people could seek to enter the state hidden in freight transport.

However, he said there was a national directive for patrols not to inhibit freight movement around Australia, particularly into South Australia.

"There is a risk that somebody may seek to travel into South Australia by getting onto a truck," he said.

"There is a risk element there that just must be accepted. We do randomly check trucks and we think that's a sufficient process at this time."

Earlier this week, Premier Steven Marshall also defended the actions of patrols, saying they do not stop every heavy vehicle due to the high volume crossing the border each day.

"SAPOL have only ever done random checks on the trucks that come across as essential workers from day one," Mr Marshall said.

"There was a change in protocol at the border to inspect all of them, but when it turned out that this was creating unnecessary traffic hazards, they went back to the normal practice."

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