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Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 10:36 UK

Aussie straps in beer, not child

Alice Springs, Northern Territory
The car was pulled over on the Ross Highway, south of Alice Springs

A car driver in Australia has been fined for strapping down his beer rather than his young child.

Police said they were "shocked and appalled" when they pulled over the car south of Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory.

They said the 30-can pack of beer was strapped down between two adults in the back, with the five-year-old child unrestrained on the floor.

The driver was handed a fine of A$750 (US$709; 362).

The fine was for failing to ensure a child was wearing a seatbelt as well as driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.

'Blank' look

The car was pulled over on the Ross Highway last Friday.

Map

Constable Wayne Burnett said: "I haven't ever seen something like this before.

"This is the first time that the beer has taken priority over a child... The child was sitting in the lump in the centre, unrestrained."

When Constable Burnett handed over the fine he said the driver "just looked at me blankly".

"He didn't get it," Constable Burnett said.

"I asked him about the fact the child was unrestrained and the beer was, and he said he didn't know anything about it."

Superintendent Sean Parnell of Alice Springs police said the incident was a "timely reminder" to ensure "all passengers are secured".


SEE ALSO
Australia battles rise in alcohol abuse
31 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
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