When a Sydney man was caught visiting Wagga from a hotspot, he was fined $1000 and escorted by police out of the region.
The man was pulled over by Riverina Highway Patrol earlier in the week for a random check and he told officers he was visiting his girlfriend.
Riverina Police District Superintendent Bob Noble said this was one of 12 fines issued by officers in the past 15 days.
"The fellow from Sydney was from one of those actual red zones, as they are called, and he said he was here visiting his girlfriend," he said.
"That excuse really did not stack up in the investigation.
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"He was issued with a $1000 fine, and he was escorted as far as the Hume Highway and sent north."
Superintendent Noble said it was disappointing to see this behaviour, as it puts the community at risk.
"You scratch your head and think 'when is the penny going to drop for you people'," he said.
"You've got to recognise that people are doing it hard.
"In the instance of the fellow who wanted to visit his girlfriend, we all have a significant degree of compassion and empathy for that person, but the stakes are too high."
Superintendent Noble said there is a lot of anxiety in the community as the situation in Sydney worsens, but officers were enforcing the rules.
He said that police were out in force on the highways using instant number plate recognition to pull over people suspected of leaving hotspots.
"The only way out of this is to comply with the regimes as much as possible," Superintendent Noble said.
"Testing with symptoms is critical, and seeking vaccinations as soon as possible so that we can get to a level where tolerance of the virus spreading in the community is achieved."