18 December 2020

Call for crackdown on brawls and theft on Evans Street in Moruya

| Hannah Sparks
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Intersection of Evans Street and Albert Street in Moruya.

Residents say the intersection of Evans Street and Albert Street in Moruya is a well known hot spot for disturbances. Photo: Karyn Starmer.

A frustrated resident who lives on Evans Street in Moruya says there needs to be a crackdown on the regular disturbances they’ve been living with for more than 20 years.

The town’s main residential street is regularly subject to brawls, break-ins, theft, drug deals, loud music played in the early hours of the morning and bins knocked over, according to the resident who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons.

Only recently, police used capsicum spray to break up a brawl of about 20 people while trying to arrest a man who attempted a break-in on Evans Street.

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The resident said it happened at a home that has been targeted three times since they’ve lived there.

Two male officers were called to the Evans Street residence at around 8 pm on Friday, 4 December, following reports a man was attempting to break in.

They attempted to arrest the 33-year-old man around the corner on Woodbridge Avenue but were allegedly surrounded by 20 people who were acting aggressively.

Empty block on Evans Street, Moruya.

An empty block that used to be a park at 75 Evans Street is now a thoroughfare to Jeffery Place, and residents often see people drinking on the site. Photo: Karyn Starmer.

The officers used capsicum spray to break up the group, however the now two men they were trying to arrest fled the scene.

One of the men, who allegedly deliberately coughed on the officers, returned to the scene a short time later to hand himself over to police. The other man was arrested at home in Braidwood on Wednesday, 9 December.

On Tuesday, 8 December, four days after the attempted break-in, the Evans Street resident said he found all of his and his neighbours’ bins knocked over. Then on the day of the arrest, he woke up at 2 am to loud music playing on the street.

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He said residents who live at the other end of the street, adjacent to Moruya Golf Club, also often hear the disturbances.

“They are doing it to antagonise local residents,” he said. “I don’t understand why they want to antagonise us when we’ve done nothing wrong. They’ve got no respect.”

The resident moved in to his home on Evans Street with his wife in 1999, but said the problem existed long before then.

“It comes in waves,” he said. “This year has been pretty bad.”

He said he believes the young people are “out of control” on alcohol and drugs, and he has installed CCTV to try and provide evidence to police.

“You can hardly understand them when you listen to their conversations on the street or try to have a conversation with them,” he said.

The resident also believes people are dealing methamphetamine – also known as ice – as he sees cars that only stay for about five minutes regularly parked in front of the same houses on Evans Street. That’s why houses are regularly broken into for cash and property to sell for drugs, said the resident.

An alcohol-free zone exists on Evans Street between Panorama Parade and Albert Street, according to a Eurobodalla Shire Council spokesperson.

However, people ignore the signs and drink in the alcohol-free zone anyway, according to the resident.

It is up to police to enforce alcohol-free zones and Batemans Bay Police Station Acting Inspector Tim Winkelman told Region Media that police are aware of the disturbances on Evans Street. He also said police regularly patrol the area.

“We have arrested a few people in the past week or so – that should minimise some of the disturbances,” he said.

The alcohol-free zone could be extended on Evans Street, from the Albert Street intersection to Campbell Street in the north, and from the Panorama Parade intersection to Bergalia Street in the south – a measure the anonymous resident would like to be introduced.

The Eurobodalla Shire Council spokesperson said anyone who would like to see an alcohol-free zone established can contact council with their concerns.

“Council will then work with NSW Police to review the request,” said the spokesperson.

The anonymous resident also called for a crackdown on drugs and for other residents to report disturbances to police every time they happen.

For now, laying low with a pair of earplugs is the best means for a peaceful life.

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This street definitely needs some attention. It’s not just about policing. The NSW police and council need to work with local elders to come up with a long term solution. An excellent example is the ‘Nyoongar Patrol’ based in Perth that is an indigenous patrol service, run by aboriginal people for aboriginal people. This should be funded by the Government.

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