Clothing optional beach between Belongil Beach and Brunswick Heads at Tyagarah.
Clothing optional beach between Belongil Beach and Brunswick Heads at Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

SLEAZE BEACH: Sex pests becoming more dangerous

IT'S A beautiful beach stretching from Brunswick Heads to Byron Bay, but Tyagarah's reputation is rapidly turning ugly.

In fact, it's becoming downright sinister.

While NSW National Parks promotes it as a place to swim, fish, birdwatch, eat at the picnic area or sunbathe au natural at the nudist beach area, Tyagarah is rapidly gaining a sinister reputation with women regularly reporting they feel intimidated there.

A report in The Northern Star of a sexual assault on a woman on the weekend at the Belongil area of Tyagarah beach, has seen dozens of women come forward on social media to report their discomfort and often fear, after being approached by what they have said are predatory males on the sand and in the dunes of the coastline.

Yesterday, police at Tweed/Byron LAC announced they were now working with the Sex Crimes Squad division of the NSW Police Serious Crimes Directorate on the case.

Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cullen said the seriousness of the sex assault allegation meant officers from the serious crimes division were now on the ground, assisting local police with the investigation.

"Despite having other serious crimes in the command our detectives are working on, we have a team of eight detectives working on this incident including the Sydney contingent whom we really appreciate their involvement," he said.

"We take this very seriously and working on a number of leads and hopefully we will identify and track the offender down sooner rather than later."

Det Chief Insp Cullen said anyone who had information should contact Byron Bay detectives or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

When The Northern Star visited Tyagarah beach yesterday morning, patrons said they were shocked to learn of the attack.

A couple who live at Byron Bay, said they had been visiting the nude beach for many years and had never experienced any frightening incidents.

The pair, aged in their late 50s, who asked not to be named, said most local naturists knew each other and would not put up with any sleazy behaviour.

"I've been coming to this beach for eight years now and have never felt uncomfortable," she said.

Her partner said if anyone tried such behaviour among their community they would be given short shift, but he said he had heard there were some unsavoury people south of the beach, towards the golf course.

Another regular beach-goer said he had been visiting the beach for years and was disgusted to learn someone had been assaulted.

He said the beach featured in a number of reputable naturist publications and it was a shame sleazy people were ruining its reputation as a safe place to enjoy the area as nature intended.

On the Byron Shire Council and NSW National Parks websites, information about the area states a 1km stretch of the beach is "clothing optional", but there are no signs in the car park at the end of Greys Lane, which has direct beach access, alerting visitors to the beach's status.

When The Northern Star contacted the council and NSW Department of Environment & Heritage, each claimed this signage was the responsibility of the other.

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