A group of volunteer truck drivers who travelled for up to a week to deliver hay to drought-stricken farmers were left speechless after a run in with local police.
The kind-hearted truckies drove over 3,600km from Western Australia to Cobar in central western NSW, carrying much needed hay to farmers in a true display of Aussie spirit.
One farmer was filmed breaking down in tears as the convoy of trucks rolled into the dusty town on Saturday, repeatedly mouthing ‘thank you’ to the drivers as they passed by.
Before making the long trip home, a number of the drivers who had spent up to a week on the road were required by law to spend at least 24 hours resting.
Two drivers who spent the weekend at a Cobar hotel and left their trucks on a quiet side street were warned by police on Monday about parking illegally with their oversized trucks.
Volunteer truck drivers who travelled for a week to deliver bales of hay to drought-stricken farmers were threatened with parking fines by local police officers (stock image)
The mother of a woman travelling with the convoy (pictured above) claimed police told them they could face a fine of up to $3,000 for illegally parking in the street while they slept in a nearby hotel
The mother of a woman travelling with the convoy claimed the drivers asked police for an exemption to move their trucks later because they were on their mandated 24-hour break and legally couldn’t drive.
‘The policeman told them he didn’t care and to find someone else to shift it or it was going to cost them an initial $250 and $150 for every hour after,’ she claimed on social media.
It’s understood the drivers were told they faced a fine of up to $3,000 if they left the trucks on the quiet street.
One of the drivers explained he had been told not to park out of town as it was dangerous, and had only left his truck on the street so he could keep an eye on it from his hotel room.
But police refused to budge, issuing the drivers with cautions they feared could be followed by fines in the mail.
One farmer (pictured) down in tears as the convoy of trucks rolled into the dusty town in central western NSW on Saturday
‘What an absolute joke’: When news emerged of the drivers’ run in with police, social media erupted with outrage
The actions of the police officers infuriated many, with scores of people venting their frustration on Facebook after reports of the alleged heavy-handed treatment surfaced.
‘What an absolute joke… so much for Aussies helping Aussies!’ wrote one man.
‘Unjust. Targeting of truck drivers has got to stop. The fines they receive are unfair compared to other vehicles. The regulations they are enforced to abide by is becoming ridiculous,’ added another.
‘Bloody shameful and you wonder why people don’t want to help anyone anymore,’ wrote a third.
After widespread outrage on social media, NSW Police clarified that the drivers would not be getting fined.
Close to 50 trucks carrying a staggering 3,500 tonnes (or 10,000 bales) of feed made their way to Cobar (convoy pictured)
Australian farmers are continuing to battle a crippling drought which many locals are calling the worst since 1902
‘Officers attached to Central North Highway Patrol noticed two unladen heavy vehicles illegally parked in Margaret Street, Cobar on January 28,’ police said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.
‘One of the vehicles had exceeded the heavy vehicle time limit which was in a residential street while the other had parked incorrectly.
‘During the afternoon, police had issued a number of warnings in order to maintain the free flow of traffic through the township and remove dangers to pedestrians and other vehicles.
‘NSW Police recognises the important contribution these drivers are making to the local community and no further action will be taken.’
Despite the drivers being let off, the news soured an otherwise successful effort by not-for-profit group Farmers Across Borders.
Farmer Sam Starcevich says the current drought is the ‘one of the worst in history with far-reaching consequences’
Farmers Across Borders was founded by Western Australian farmers Sam Starcevich and Anne Bell who in 2014 organised the first convoy of 16 road trains carrying 560 tonnes of donated feed.
Ms Starcevich says the 2014 hay run was the beginning of life-long friendships and incredible generosity.
‘The current drought is one of the worst in history with far-reaching consequences that permeate countless communities nationally,’ she said in a statement.
‘We are proud that we can provide both moral support and much needed resources to other farmers in their time of need.’
Close to 50 trucks carrying a staggering 3,500 tonnes of feed made their way to Cobar in what was considered to be the biggest aid convoy of fodder to ever make its way out of West Australia.
The mission was backed by the NSW Government, along with a number of local businesses.