A MAN has been charged after allegedly breaking into Optus Stadium and driving wildly on the playing surface less than eight weeks out from the start of the AFL season.
Police have confirmed a 29-year-old male has been hit with three charges after crashing through a boom gate and evading staff on Monday February 1.
"It will be alleged that at around 11:30am the man drove a black Ford Ranger at speed through a boom gate and a shutter door at the stadium before driving recklessly on the oval," WA Police told AFL.com.au in a statement.
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The charges include reckless driving, trespassing and criminal damage or destruction of property.
After running rampant on the oval, the man was detained by Optus Stadium staff until police arrived.
Optus Stadium is undergoing a review of its security protocols after the breach.
The incident also occurred on the first day of Perth's recent five-day lockdown due to COVID-19, with metropolitan and south-west residents only allowed to leave their homes for exercise and essential items.
The male from Secret Harbour, 50km south of Perth, is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on Thursday February 25.
While no major damage was inflicted on the turf, it is a further headache for ground staff before the first match of the AFL season at the venue between West Coast and Gold Coast on March 21.
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Optus Stadium's grass has come under scrutiny in its three years of operation with many players complaining about the hardness of the surface.
Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett also called for action to be taken in 2019 following a spate of lower leg injuries.
The surface improved last year despite increased traffic due to more games in a condensed period through the COVID-19 bubble but remains an ongoing watch for AFL clubs.