Melbourne beachgoers at Chelsea foreshore attacked, robbed by group of youths
A group of youths in Melbourne has been accused of attacking male beachgoers and stealing from the bags of swimmers in a series of incidents which have prompted police to increase patrols.
- A 19-year-old man sitting on the beach was hit over the head with a glass bottle, police said
- Mobile phones and purses were stolen from the unattended bags of swimmers
- Police were called to the beach hours earlier due to an altercation involving a jetskiier
Police were last night called to Chelsea Beach, in Melbourne’s south-east, where the group is alleged to have assaulted five men, one with a glass bottle and others with a yellow plastic cricket bat around 9:30pm.
Police said the group — whose members were described as being of African appearance and aged in their late teens and early 20s — “approached” the unattended belongings of swimmers on the beach.
A male swimmer who confronted them was assaulted by the group, which then fled with mobile phones and purses, police said.
It is alleged they attacked three other men aged 25 to 30 shortly afterwards, stealing the mobile phone of one of them.
Following this, a 19-year-old man who was sitting on the beach was struck in the head with a glass bottle, and was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.
Two others were treated by paramedics at the scene.
Nobody has been arrested and police are keen to talk to witnesses.
Police were first called to the foreshore at Chelsea after a fight broke out over a jetski. (Supplied: Roula Krikellis)
‘To see this occur really has disturbed us deeply’
Superintendent Sharon McKinnon said the attacks were unprovoked.
“We are so disturbed by it,” Superintendent McKinnon said.
“Those three first victims had been working hard all day in the heat, and have gone down, as we all should, in this lovely country of ours, to enjoy the beach.
“To see this occur really has disturbed us deeply.
“We do not want people not going to the beach — it’s one of the most important parts of our wonderful culture that we have in this country.
“We will ensure that we keep reviewing our work in this area, because it is an emerging issue, so that we can make our beaches safe.”
She also said it was not unusual for there to be incidents on hot nights on the city’s beaches, especially involving young people.
The nearby St Kilda foreshore has been the site of several violent incidents this year. (AAP: David Crosling)
Earlier in the evening, police were called to the beach to deal with an altercation between two groups over a jet ski near the pier.
A 20-year-old man was arrested for being drunk and criminal damage, police said.
“They were separate groups, and we increased our numbers of police at the time, and we were able to calm that group down,” she said.
“Everything seemed to be quite peaceful on the beach until these [later] incidents occurred.”
Police to boost foreshore patrols
Superintendent McKinnon said she was confident the force had the right plans and resources to keep the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations safe, and said police numbers on Chelsea Beach would be increased tonight.
“I put my hand on my heart, that we will be working very hard with local council and using all our police to allow them [local residents] to enjoy that environment.”
Chelsea resident Roula Krikellis said she arrived at the beach around 7:30pm to find 30 police officers patrolling the area following the altercation over the jetski.
“I thought ‘ok, something’s going on here’ … I then had a sense of uneasiness, this didn’t seem normal at the beach,” Ms Krikellis said.
She commended police on the “calm” way they handled the incidents, which she said would not deter her from enjoying her local beach.
“At the end of the day, there’s instances [of crime] all over Melbourne, Australia, all around the world — we can’t stop going to our beautiful beaches,” she said.
New security cameras installed at St Kilda foreshore
The unrest came as the Victorian Government announced 10 new CCTV cameras had begun operation on the St Kilda foreshore, after revellers last year trashed the beach on Christmas Day.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said the high-profile law and order operation at St Kilda had not simply pushed the problem to other bayside beaches such as Chelsea Beach.
“We had a small group, last night, who attempted to create harm,” Ms Neville said.
“But my message is our beaches are safe, right across Victoria’s bays and we have police at each and every [beach].”
Victoria Police said it was readily able to deploy and bolster forces wherever needed.
“We have a lot of extra police in the area, over and above what is generally here,” Superintendent Tony Silva said.
“We’ll alter our plans. We’ll do that daily. We’ll do that during the day if we need to do that. So if the intelligence says we need to beef up resources at Chelsea, we need to extend our time down there, and we need to work with council better, we’ll do that.”