Couple tell of terrifying attack at popular rest area
A VISITING couple has been left traumatised, and with a damage bill in the thousands, after being attacked by a group of teenagers while inside their van at Emerald Beach recently.
Erin Bourne from Kirra and her partner Bryan Bates from Byron Bay regularly visit the region visiting friends at Mullaway and Emerald Beach.
On the night of February 15 they had dinner and a few drinks with friends at a restaurant in Emerald Beach and went down to the reserve along Fiddamans Rd to wait before driving.
"We were shocked by the sound of rocks and other objects hitting the car at around 12.45am," Ms Bourne said.
"A group of boys in their late teens - six to eight of them - were shouting obscenities and throwing whatever they could pick up from the ground. When confronted and told to stop, they escalated with more abuse and one even started to let air out of a tyre.
"It was clear they had no intention of leaving and at this point Bryan leapt out of the vehicle to stop him and I called the police."
When Erin tried to tell them the police were on their way one of the teens threw something at her, hitting her in the face.
"Instead of scaring the boys, the news the police were on their way caused further escalation of their violent behaviour.
"They surrounded Bryan, taunting him, throwing a bottle at him and another boy tried to start a fight by pushing him. One kid was obnoxious enough to say that Bryan couldn't touch him because he was only 16."
Erin says it's hard to describe the terror and feeling of helplessness and she still has nightmares recalling the situation.
"Fortunately, Bryan was able to diffuse the situation enough that with much abuse and swearing the youths left thinking the police would arrive any minute."
Unfortunately the police did not arrive and they were left traumatised and taking stock of the damage. There were several big dents, paint damage and five cracks in the windscreen of their brand new van.
"We were then further shocked in the morning to find no record of our two calls to police or the report we filed that night."
She says that officers on Sunday morning were apologetic and helpful but unable to explain where the records went.
The Advocate contacted the Coffs-Clarence Police District for comment with a spokesperson providing the following:
"The incident has been reported to police. Anyone with information which could assist detectives or with CCTV or dashcam vision from the Emerald Beach area in the early hours of Sunday February 16 are urged to contact Coffs Harbour Police on 6691 0799 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000."
In frustration Erin took to the Emerald Beach Families Facebook page to ask for help and others commented reporting an increase in that kind of behaviour in the area.
"This sort of thing, to a lesser extent but escalating, is happening way too often in our area: cars vandalised; a young neighbour with a baby threatened by lowlifes with a tomahawk; and lots more. Come on people, someone has to know something," posted Margaret Vagg.