UPDATE: More than 60 traffic offences were detected by Bendigo Police after a regional operation at the weekend.
Operation Memphis 2 targeted speeding motorists, unlicensed drivers, unregistered vehicles and drink and drug driving with more than 95 preliminary breath tests conducted.
Bendigo Highway Patrol and local police were assisted by the Police Air Wing and Dog Squad as part of the weekend operation.
Six people were charged from drug and drink tests, six vehicles were impounded and a number of drivers were charged with traffic offences.
"Operation Memphis 2 is focused on keeping all of our drivers safe on the road, we want everyone to see Christmas this year," Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said.
EARLIER: Bendigo Police have nabbed several offenders as part of a two-night operation involving the Victoria Police air wing and dog squad.
While the police helicopter disturbed some residents as it hovered over Bendigo on Friday and Saturday nights, Bendigo Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said it was necessary to combat high risk driving.
"I'm sure the public would agree with me that people who are intentionally putting people at risk need to be stopped," Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
"This is the proven safer method to have these people intercepted from the streets and place them before the courts."
Three males and one female were arrested and taken off the roads. Several others were charged and will face court at a later date.
Senior Sergeant Brooks said police noted about 60 offences across the two nights, including drug trafficking, theft of a motor vehicle, reckless conduct endangering life, handling stolen goods, and drink driving.
"These are quite serious offences," Senior Sergeant Brooks said. "If we used traditional police methods to apprehend the offenders, we could have put the community at risk.
"The arrests only came about because we could safely traffic people from above and deploy units to those areas without any incident or putting people at risk."
The operation at the weekend followed a similar operation in May where 32 people were apprehended.
The air wing and dog squad were also deployed from Melbourne for that joint operation.
"I understand the helicopter makes noise," Senior Sergeant Brooks said. "I do apologise if the helicopter disturbed residents, but it was done in an attempt to make the community safer.
"We kept the helicopter at a higher point than the past operation because the weather conditions were better.
"While it did go on for several hours, we tried to keep the noise as minimal as we could.
"I'm sure people understand we need to use all of the resources at our disposal to apprehend these people."
A note from the editor
We were again bombarded with questions at the weekend about why a helicopter was flying above Bendigo and surrounds for hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
As with the last operation of this kind, by late on Saturday night, it became apparent we needed to say something - but at the same time, say nothing.
So we posted a few generic lines on our Facebook page - and who knew so many of you would still be awake!
Doing that kept most people happy. Many of our social media readers accepted that while it is still unusual to have an operation of that kind in our city, it was again necessary - and they were grateful to have a little bit of information.
Others, were angry - about the noise, the lack of information from Victoria Police, or that the Addy wasn't doing our job of keeping you updated with the news.
While it is our role to bring you the news, we knew the operation taking place could only be successful if very little information was made available to the public.
And that was the case. We make no apology - and nor should Victoria Police.
There is a big difference between what is of interest to the public, and what is in the public interest. In this case, what was in the public interest was keeping things quiet, until such time the operation concluded.
By the time we put up our Facebook post last night, and a link to the previous operation, this one was almost finished.
And today, police were happy to share the reason for the operation and the results - and that is, our roads are a little bit safer today.
Given the road toll this year, we should all be thankful for that.
- Nicole Ferrie, editor
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