Sydney News: Goods seized in alleged illegal shop, NSW Parliament resumes

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Police have charged seven people allegedly involved in a syndicate that stole supermarket items and on-sold them in inner-Sydney.

The group is accused of stealing items including medication, lollies and condoms before re-selling them from a Darlinghurst convenience store and at a storage container at Greenacre.

Investigators raided the properties last week and allegedly seized more than $100,000 worth of property.

A 27-year-old man was charged with a raft of offences over the syndicate and was refused bail at a Parramatta Court on Saturday.

The other six people were charged with lesser offences and granted bail.

A change at NSW Parliament

Gladys Berejiklian in Parliament.

The 57th Parliament will resume this morning with new faces and a new, politically diverse, crossbench of MPs holding the balance of power.

There will be the usual pomp and ceremony, with MPs taking pledges of loyalty or the oath of allegiance and a prayer to open the new Parliament.

But the Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed plans for change: she has asked the presiding officers of Parliament to report back to her with recommendations to modernise and improve its functions and efficiency.

The Premier said that while tradition was important, MPs needed to ensure the Parliament better reflected the community it serviced.

The recommendations will be implemented later this year.

Ice inquiry resumes

A NSW inquiry into the drug ice resumes hearings today in Sydney, with the head of the Drug Squad, Detective Chief Inspector Michael Cook, to give evidence.

The inquiry was set up to look at the prevalence of ice and other similar amphetamine drugs, and the adequacy of measures to deal with the problem.

Bureau of Crime Statistics acting executive director Jackie Fitzgerald will also front the hearing and said instances of amphetamine possession had risen by 250 per cent across the state, compared with a decade ago.

She said the rate of increase in the use of amphetamines such as ice was worse in regional areas, especially Coffs Harbour, Grafton and the state’s west.

“Far western NSW has increased … the detections there by about 700 per cent over that 10-year period, and that’s the part of NSW with the highest rate of possession detections,” she said.

Gay rugby team wants to ‘move on’ from Folau saga 

Four men wearing jerseys stand shoulder to shoulder while singing.

As Israel Folau’s code of conduct hearing enters its third day, members of Australia’s first gay and inclusive rugby union club is not letting the saga get the better of them.

In a code that has long prided itself for being inclusive and safe for all, the Sydney Convicts have applauded Rugby Australia for taking a stance.

But Convicts player Don Rose said the rugby community wanted the Folau saga “to be dealt with and to move on”.

“There are so many great things happening in our sport — there is a process, but the sooner we can move on the better, and talk about the things we should be,” he said.

Sydney schools locked down

Two men are in custody after a police search yesterday that led to a number of schools on the northern beaches being placed into lockdown.

The NSW Police PolAir and dog unit were deployed to search for the pair after they fled on foot from a vehicle police believe was stolen.

A 25-year-old man was arrested when he was found at a house after swimming across Manly Lagoon, while a 17-year-old boy was arrested after being found in an industrial unit.

Both were taken to Manly Police Station and inquiries were continuing.

The men were not believed to have entered any of the schools, which police said were locked down as a precaution.

Family-first achievement

A smiling woman wearing a cap with two small boys standing on either side of her.

Of the 5,000 students graduating from Western Sydney University on Friday, a whopping 3,000 were the first in their family to attend university.

Among those was Amy Briggs, who left school in Year 10 to get a job and escape a family history of gambling and drug addiction.

The mother of two said she initially thought university was not an option for her because no-one in her family had ever been, but she completed her teaching degree after being inspired by her sons’ own teachers.