Shelly Beach fights back

POLICE have drawn up a four-point plan to stop the louts harassing business owners and residents in Port Macquarie and Bonny Hills.

The four main strategies were devised following a meeting this week between worried business owners, council, police and an MP staffer.

Shelly Beach residents say hooliganism in the area has become out of control since youths ran amok there on Australia Day.

But “anti-social’’ behaviour in the beachside areas of the Hastings had been a major, ongoing problem.

The special meeting was held on Tuesday to discuss the best ways to tackle the problem of alcohol-fuelled problems.

A delegation of Shelly Beach business operators joined police officers, the council’s crime prevention official and a member of Port Macquarie MP Peter Besseling’s staff.

The main measures are:

l “Target-hardening” of “at risk” premises;

l Additional patrols at targeted locations;

l Reporting to the Department of Community Services through formal notification;

l A greater level of responsibility placed back on the parents of offending juveniles.

Longer-term strategies include educational programs.

Initially organised to deal with the problems in Port Macquarie’s Shelly Beach area, the meeting identified other parts of the town – as well as Bonny Hills – blighted by similar issues.

Port Macquarie’s Sergeant Wayne Sainsbury has led calls for residents to report any incident as it arises.

“We would also encourage parents of teenagers to ensure that they are aware of where their children are,” Sgt Sainsbury said.

The businessman who organised a petition and enlisted the support of local proprietors was delighted with the outcome.

“The meeting went extremely well,” said the businessman, who does not wish to be named.

“All the suggestions we [Shelly Beach business leaders] made were addressed.

“There was a lot of emphasis on raising awareness and reminding residents and kids of their responsibilities.”

The businessman urged the public to report any incident at the time, to ensure every instance of “anti-social behaviour” was logged.

“A lot of people just aren’t doing that, and the police haven’t been made aware of the extent [of the problem],” he said.

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