Beach thieves locked out
By RENEE REDMOND
RODNEY JOHNSON is giving Byron Bay beachgoers the gift of security this Christmas with the launch of his new Beach Buddy boxes.
Mr Johnson set up his new business next door to the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club yesterday offering a padlocked box for people hitting the beach who feel unsafe leaving their valuables on the sand.
The Lismore man said he had invested $100,000 in the 'prototype' and planned to present the idea to surf life saving clubs in the new year to help their fundraising efforts.
"The lease can be paid for through advertising on the boxes and money made from hiring out the boxes can go straight to the club," he said.
"The security box can be manned by surf life saving volunteers ? it's simple to run."
Mr Johnson said the security boxes could also be used at sporting events, race days and music festivals.
"We hear so many reports of stolen wallets and mobile phones at beaches and festivals, it just seemed logical to have this security," he said.
Small lockers cost $5 per day to hire and the large lockers cost $10.
"All we ask for is a $20 deposit for the padlock and the user can come and go from the lockers as they please," he said.
"We also give out a wrist band so we can identify anyone who is at the lockers who shouldn't be."
Yesterday Erin Robinson and her family from Newcastle were passing through Byron Bay and stopped for a swim.
"We hired a locker because all our valuables are in our car and we didn't want to leave them there.
"I put my jewellery, wallet and mobile phone in the locker ? it's a great idea," Ms Robinson said.
"We don't have anything like this in Newcastle but I think we should."