Provincial police officers say they are “dismayed and alarmed” after laying 35 charges, mostly related to possession of alcohol and trespassing in the Rondeau Provincial Park over the Victoria Day weekend.  

Chatham-Kent OPP, in partnership with Chatham-Kent police and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry were kept busy at the park from 6 a.m. on Friday, May 19 to 6 a.m. on Monday, May 22.  

Over the course of the weekend, 19 campsites were evicted, totalling 114 people, all of whom were subsequently trespassed from the park for the rest of the weekend.

Police say several of these youths came back on the following night(s) and were arrested and charged for entering the park after being removed.  

There was one assault on a park warden which is still under investigation.  

Approximately $3,000 damage was caused to one of the washrooms facilities on Sunday night or Monday morning which is still under investigation.  

There were several minor criminal charges that are being investigated, including damage to property, theft, mischief.  

Six campsites were left damaged and / or full of garbage and personal possessions; possible charges may follow under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act for failing to restore the site to its original condition.  

Park Wardens and OPP dealt with one case of alcohol poisoning and one drug overdose where two males were transported to hospital.  

OPP laid one charge for possession of cannabis under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.  

Park Wardens and OPP combined laid approximately 35 charges, most related to possession of alcohol and trespassing in the park.  

OPP issued two three-day driver's licence suspensions due to consumption of alcohol.  

Two males were arrested for public intoxication and held overnight at OPP cells.  

“Our overall goal of ensuring that all the campers who enter the park on Friday leave the park safe and sound on Monday was met,” say police.

“We do, however, continue to be dismayed and alarmed at the ease which with youth are able to obtain alcohol and at some of the hundreds of social media posts made over the weekend detailing extremely high-risk behaviours.”

Police are urging parents to have frank discussions with their kids about the risks of alcohol and drug usage, staying aware of their surroundings, driving while impaired, and the fact that enforcement officials don't view criminal acts as 'kids being kids' but as serious incidents that will be investigated and prosecuted.  

Police also remind parents / older siblings that providing alcohol to a minor is unlawful under the Liquor Licence Act and can result in fines up to $5000. OPP are looking into several such cases from this weekend.  

Anyone with any information on the incidents mentioned in this message is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667.