‘Outdoor sex hook ups’ are a problem at beach
A NORTHERN NSW beach will remain open to nudists despite police statistics revealing a massive spike in sexual and street offences in the area.
Byron Shire Councillors voted to keep the area clothing optional at a recent council meeting.
In the past year officers have recorded 10 times the amount of crime in this small area, compared to all other beaches in the shire.
Police data submitted to the Byron Shire Council reveals 47 offences have been recorded at Tyagarah and Belongil beaches in the past 12 months.
For all other local beaches there were just four similar offences recorded.
The NSW Police submission to the council highlighted police were not being called to other beaches.
"The comparison data from other beaches within the Byron Shire demonstrate that incidents are not being detected at other sites," it read.
"Tweed/Byron police have been tasked to these areas (Tyagarah) on a daily basis.
"These proactive patrols have minimised the incidents of inappropriate and lewd behaviour in and around the Ti Tree Lakes area and on Tyagarah Beach over the past 12 months."
Councillor Basil Cameron said the problem was not clothes optional bathing areas, but what was going on in bushland behind the beach.
"This is a most vexing problem for our community," Cr Cameron said.
"For many years Ti Tree Lake has been a location for outdoor sex hook ups."
He said the problem was not linked to naturalists who have frequented the area for decades.
"We need to understand these are two separate groups and that both naturists and residents have been victims of the undesirable Ti Tree Lakes culture spilling into the shared car park and onto the beachfront."
He described naturalists using the clothing optional area as respectful tourists.
But long-time Tyagarah resident Gyan Moyes said the clothing optional beach had to be removed.
"We're not anti-nudity, we're quite a progressive community but it just shows how far we've been pushed by this behaviour," he said.
Mr Moyes said he and his family had seen things "beyond anyone's imagination".
"People now come here very much because they see it as a sexual destination," he said.
"We have a police presence at that beach most days, most people who are sexually harassed just leave and don't come back.
"We've had that beach taken out of our hands, we want it back."