Police have fined a man who was seen in photos carrying eight children in the back of his ute along a South Australian country beach.

Key points:

  • A ute was photographed driving with children in the tray at Wallaroo
  • Police have fined two drivers with various offences
  • The local mayor says children’s lives were at risk

They allege the Nissan driver drove through the water at Wallaroo’s North Beach, on the Yorke Peninsula, while eight unrestrained children were in the ute tray on Monday afternoon.

Police said another man driving a Holden ute was “driving quickly” near people walking along the shore, causing water to splash up higher than the vehicle’s roof.

Police tracked down both drivers on Tuesday morning, with the help of Wallaroo locals, who posted photos of the incidents to social media.

“Drivers need to make better choices — if one of the children had fallen from the back of the utility, the consequences could have been tragic,” SA Police said.

The Nissan driver, a 29-year-old Para Hills man, was issued a $1,313 fine for having two or more children not wearing a seatbelt, riding in a part of a vehicle not for people and driving a vehicle without proper control.

He also received five demerit points.

The other driver, a 29-year-old man from Victoria, was issued a $287 on-the-spot fine for driving a vehicle without proper control.

‘The community are watching’

Copper Coast Mayor Roselyn Talbot said the drivers would not have been caught if not for the “diligence” of locals.

Ms Talbot said she was first made aware of the beach incidents when locals started posting photos to social media.

“The community are watching and are monitoring these sorts of things,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe, to be honest, that people were so reckless towards children they would love and care for.”

She said the behaviour was disappointing but not a common occurrence.

“The Wallaroo beach is traditionally a family-friendly beach where people like to park their cars, be able to sit, the children play cricket, and I think that we watch out for each other.

“I think the fact these people have been caught will discourage people from behaving recklessly again.”

SA Police said motorists should remember that road rules applied equally to beaches.