Yamba riot leaves town in shock
SATURDAY night’s violent riot in Yamba, in which a police vehicle was torched and 15 people arrested, was the talk of the town yesterday as residents and business owners were left asking how such a thing could happen in ‘Australia’s Best Town’.
The call for more police resources was unanimous, as was the concern that a few troublemakers could so quickly sour Yamba’s celebrated family-friendly reputation.
“We don’t want to become a town that’s got a reputation where it’s not safe to be out at night,” Yamba retailer Scott Morschel said.
Yamba Chamber of Commerce president Daniel Reeves said Saturday night’s riot, and last week’s serious assault on Yamba Hill, were two of many concerningincidents to have occurred in the popular coastal town recently.
“The crime is happening thick and fast and there are stories everywhere, whether it be break-ins, which are not always reported, or assaults,” Mr Reeves said.
He encouraged Yamba residents to report all incidents of crime to police to help build the case for more police resources in the Coffs Harbour/Clarence Local Area Command.
Mr Reeves said the aim of a petition currently being circulated in Yamba was to increase the Clarence Valley’s police strength to allow two police cars to patrol the area, instead of the current situation in which only one vehicle patrolled the entire valley area most nights.
He said this would effectively halve police response times in the area and make policing more effective.
Mr Reeves said there was no point refurbishing the Yamba police stat-ion, which had occurred recently,unless there was adequate staff to man it.
“It’s being left unattended for hours on end at any time, day or night,” Mr Reeves said.
“If someone is in the station’s lock-up and there is a call-out, police have to respond with only one officer.”
Mr Reeves said police officers working in Yamba were doing a great job, but there was simply not enough of them.
Grant Dwyer, from Yamba’s Fernando Surf Company, expressed concern about the apparent lack of par-ental responsibility at Saturday night’s party-turned-riot.
“The fact that they think they can get away with throwing things at police astounds me,” he said.
Retailer Leanne Spears, from Emerge on Coldstream, which opened in November last year, said she was embarrassed for Yamba when she saw the incident televised on national news on Sunday night.