Byron like a 'war zone' at night

BYRON BAY turns into a “completely different town” after dark, according to local resident and taxi driver Vyt Andrew.

That's why he refuses to work at night.

“There are kids all over the streets and they're loaded up with drugs and alcohol, so it turns into World War III on the streets of Byron,” he said.

“I won't drive the taxi at night because the violence is so bad.”

Late-night business workers are also copping the brunt of the violence.

But many are too afraid to speak out for fear that they will become a target.

One worker, who did not want to be named, said more police were needed on the streets between 11pm and 6am.

“I once saw a guy get bashed so badly that the ambulance officers said if he'd been left for another 20 minutes, he would have died,” she said.

Another woman, who refused to be named, said she once saw a man grab a huge metal pole from behind a bush and head to the beach.

“I don't know what he was going to do with it,” she said.

“We see the problems because we're open so late. There are gangs, there's fighting, there's young girls passed out drunk on the street.”

Police also admit that alcohol-related violence is on the rise in Byron Bay.

Inspector Owen King said the number of incidents was a 'concern'.

“Of course it concerns us, but we're doing what we can to minimise it,” he said.

“We're working closely with the community and the council.

“We also have dedicated police officers on duty on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights whose job it is to provide that highly visible police presence.”

Inspector King said more community education was needed.

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