Burden of an overpacked van

A BACKPACKER got more than he bargained for when he loaded his campervan with too many passengers.

Michael Fleetham told the Mildura Magistrates’ Court he had to lug 12 litres of water in bags on foot since the van was impounded by police late last month.

Police found passengers sitting in the camper area of the van as it travelled along Myall Avenue, Cardross, on September 27.

They impounded the van until October 22.

Fleetham appeared in court on Tuesday to apply for his van’s release, telling Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge it had left he and the van’s co-owner unable to work for nearly two weeks.

He said it had also left them without any way to get to town to do their weekly shopping.

“We have to walk 26km to get our food and water, which is a long way,” Fleetham said.

A police prosecutor told the court waiving impoundment fees had put financial pressure on the impoundment program, designed to act as a deterrent for driving offences.

Mr Lethbridge granted Fleetham’s application to have the van released on the grounds of exceptional hardship but told him to make inquiries before applying to have the $1335 release fee waived.

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