Beach party with ‘200+’ angers locals
Byron Bay locals are furious this morning after waking up to find their prized beach trashed by backpackers in a crazy party with more than 200 attendees.
Angry residents shared photos of the rubbish scattered across the sand in Belongil Beach, the main strip of beach in Byron Bay along the northern NSW coast.
Tweed/Byron police were kept very busy last night from shutting down multiple illegal parties, with no more than 100 people allowed at outdoor gatherings because of COVID-19 restrictions.
It comes after Sydney siders were caught throwing a massive party in the eastern suburbs' Bronte Beach on Christmas Day.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard called the Sydney event "appalling" and a 25-year-old man was arrested and charged for ignoring police officers.
Although Australia's backpacker community largely went home after news of the coronavirus pandemic broke, locals believe backpackers are to blame for the wild party that happened on Saturday night, December 26.
"This was the remains of a back packer beach party at Belongil Beach yesterday," a local posted to a community Facebook page.
"I know it was a backpackers party bc (because) I was tasked to find a lost phone.
"There were smouldering logs from the fire & broken glass throughout the sand.
"The sand had so much buried trash that I was stepping on buried bottles, cans & trash of every description. This is bloody disgusting."
Another local said "Apparently there was 200+ people.
"Everyone should be able to grab a rubbish bag and do their part, bunch of lazy ass pigs. So disrespectful. No wonder locals are mad."
Tweed/Byron Police estimate that number to be higher, after shutting down the Belongil Beach party where they said 300 people had gathered.
It wasn't the only illegal party happening last night.
Police said they broke up a gathering at the National Park area at Tyagarah around midnight and they also crashed a gathering at Main Beach where another 300 people were partying.
Early this morning, police attended Apex Park after a large number of people gathered.
"Police moved on the group and ensured the alcohol they were consuming was tipped out," officers said in a statement.
During the many parties, police seized music equipment and issued 73 parking infringements.
Police are now urging visitors and locals alike "to celebrate responsibly" and reminded everyone that public places are "alcohol-free zone(s)".
Tweed/Byron Police District Commander, Superintendent David Roptell, is appealing for those involved to respect the environment and be mindful of the amount of rubbish left behind.
"It's not fair for council workers and locals to have to clean the significant mess that is being left after each of these gatherings. I urge those who are intent on meeting in parks and beaches to not only do so safely but be respectful to the environment and those around you by cleaning up after yourself," Supt Roptell said.
Locals said a bonfire on the beach was so large that it "would have been visible from most beaches in the bay".
Now residents are calling for their beach to be patrolled by police to stop it from happening again.
"The beach needs patrolling to stop this crap, maybe locals that live nearby can report to the police," said one person on social media.
Others called for the perpetrators to be kicked out of the country.
"Disgusting. Strip the visa of the poeple (sic) responsible for those trash or at least make an example out of a few so the others won't do it again …"
Byron Bay is a popular vacation spot and is home to many Aussie celebrities including Chris Hemsworth and wife Elsa Pataky, and earlier this year Zac Efron was spotted staying there
Originally published as Beach party with '200+' angers locals