HOONS CAUSE JETTY MAYHEM
By MICHELLE DAY
MAYHEM ? that's what faced police when they attended a beach party at the Jetty Foreshore on Saturday night.
One day after the Federal Government awarded $270,150 to the Safe Party Squad to help prevent and reduce illicit drug and alcohol use among Coffs Coast youths and the resulting harm, police who attempted to move on about 100 youths aged between 14 and 18 from a beach party at the Jetty Foreshore on Saturday night had verbal abuse and bottles hurled at them.
Youths scattered when police arrived, pulling out plants and damaging property including electrical wiring, lights, fencing and picnic shelters in the chaos that ensued. However, due to restrictions under the Young Offenders Act, no arrests were made.
Desnee McCosker of the Jetty Dunecare Group has been cleaning up the Jetty Foreshores area three times a week for years, but after the mess the group faced on Sunday morning has had enough.
"We decided that we were masking a social problem by tidying up. We are not going to pick up rubbish in public areas any more," Ms McCosker said.
"There is so much smashed glass in one play area they will have to empty the sand out.
"This is the second weekend in a row where they (beach parties) have totally trashed the place and littered the grassland. It is just strewn with bottles. We keep finding articles of clothing, shattered glass in the picnic areas and on footpaths and the road. For years we have been cleaning it up out of civic pride."
The group will still look after the dunal areas, but are now
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refusing to clean up the parks.
"The residents overlooking the Jetty ? I know of someone who wants to move because they can't stand the noise of the hoons. But the main concern and frustration is if they are considering opening up Boambee Beach they will make a circuit of it. "How will they be able to control it then when they can't control it now, with people seeing it and reporting it and there is only one entrance to the whole Jetty area?
"And it makes me sick to think that the poor innocent children who are going down to play are the ones that could really get hurt by the broken glass . . . maybe the money spent on cleaning up afterwards would be better spent on a proactive approach."
Sgt Greg Neville said police attended the beach party for about an hour and a half on Saturday night, trying to move on drunken revellers after they received numerous complaints.
"There were cars doing burnouts and driving recklessly and there was a stolen vehicle from Kempsey being driven down there. This is pretty much typical of beach parties," he said.
Sgt Neville said youths scatter in a thousand directions, making it difficult to catch the main perpetrators.
"Alcohol is tipped out and identifications are checked and we just try to move them on. It is a futile exercise trying to chase 16- and 17-year-olds down the beach," he said.
Police also had a large party at Sandy Beach to contend with on Saturday night, he said, adding: "Our major focus is to stop potential fights, sexual abuse and property damage. We take youths home normally. They're juveniles ? they're not that easy to charge."