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Anger as Santa put off the road

DEVASTATED: Scott Ryan and Suzanne Barnard from Sapar have been forced to take their Christmas truck off the road after being fined on Saturday night.
DEVASTATED: Scott Ryan and Suzanne Barnard from Sapar have been forced to take their Christmas truck off the road after being fined on Saturday night. Rob Williams

AN IPSWICH festive season icon, the Sapar Christmas truck, was banned from the city's streets on Saturday night leaving the community and Mayor Paul Pisasale dumbstruck.

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The 14-year-old tradition may have been brought to an end when the spectacularly lit truck was booked by an Ipswich Traffic Branch police officer for 'using lights to dazzle other road users'.

Cr Pisasale said he hoped common sense would prevail and the Sapar truck would be allowed back on the road, but in the meantime the police process must be respected.

The truck continued its annual pilgrimage around Ipswich streets on Saturday night when it and two Ulysses Club motorcyclists following, were pulled over on Workshops St in Brassall at 9.20pm.

A police statement said the officer had followed the procession for 2km, sighting a number of traffic offences, including a motorcycle proceeding through a stop sign with flashing blue lights.

The drivers of the truck and each of the motorcyclists were fined $44.

The incident left a number of children upset when it appeared Santa might be taken into custody.

The Sapar truck is renowned around Ipswich and draws thousands of residents onto the streets each year.

Sapar employees Scott Ryan, dressed as Santa, and Suzanne Barnard, a Christmas Elf, couldn't believe their run had ended.

The company was told on Sunday afternoon to keep the truck off the road while the traffic tickets were reviewed.

"This is the first time it won't go ahead and we didn't know anything was wrong," Ms Barnard said.

"We have had police go past us all week and wave to us. It is not as if it is the first time we have done it."

Cr Pisasale said the incident was not reflective of the city's relationship with the Ipswich police force.

"They have been doing it for 14 years and I think this officer needs to be transferred to the North Pole to chill out for a bit," he said.

Acting Police Community Safety Minister Steve Dickson said he was aware of the alleged incident.

"I would like to remind all Queenslanders that nobody is above the road rules. The number one concern during the holiday season is to ensure that everyone has a safe Christmas," he said.

Topics:  editors picks, sapar christmas truck, ulysses club



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