A YOUNG woman has been sexually assaulted, a police officer injured and two police cars damaged at an illegal rave party in Mebbin National Park.
Police are calling for witnesses to the sexual assault, which occurred in the early hours of last Sunday at the gathering dubbed a “doof” party.
Inspector Greg Jago, of Murwillumbah Police, said the party could have attracted hundreds of people.
“We are estimating there were about 50 people still there when we arrived, and that was about 10am,” Insp Jago said.
The party is understood to have been organised for someone's birthday, but police and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) say it is illegal to hold such events in national parks because they can have a detrimental impact on the surrounding environment.
Two officers from Murwillumbah arrived at the Cadell Road party about 10am last Sunday after reports a young woman had been assaulted.
They were met with an aggressive crowd of up to 50 revellers.
Police tried to arrest one man - for a matter not related to the assault - but he allegedly struggled violently and one officer was left with minor injuries.
The man ran off, but has since handed himself in to Murwillumbah police.
While the police truck was un-attended at the party, someone smashed its passenger side window.
Kingscliff and Nimbin police were called for back-up, but when the police car from Nimbin was arriving at the party, another car crashed into it.
The driver was later charged for drink driving.
Inspector Jago said those types of “doof” parties were often advertised on the internet or through mobile phone text messages.
Police and NPWS said they would work together to shut down and prevent the illegal parties.
A Tweed woman who regularly attends “doofs” said she didn't go to last week's party because she knew at least some of the crowd would be there “for the wrong reasons”.
She said most people at the parties were “the nicest people”, but it was important to choose events wisely.
“I didn't go to that one,” she said.
“It was for someone's birthday. I don't know him personally but I know that crowd and it didn't sound like the safest party.
“My little sister wanted to go but I talked her into the (Quiksilver) Pro Show instead for that reason.
“You really have to pick and choose your parties when you're going off into secluded areas like that.
“I heard a girl was hurt.”
People caught organising or attending illegal events in national parks can be fined up to $3300.
Lance Tarvey, a local NPWS ranger, said the impact of such events were harmful to the park flora and fauna.
“From what I understand there was amplified sound equipment, people were lighting fires and there was heaps of damage to vegetation from the sheer number of people that were there,” Mr Tarvey said.
“There was also quite a lot of rubbish left behind.
“It is just inappropriate activity for a conservation reserve set up to preserve the native flora and fauna.
“Any large organised activity needs our permission.”
Anyone with information on the sexual assault or the smashing of the police car window should call Tweed Heads detectives on (07) 5536 0999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.