Sandhills concerns

Property managers again have raised concerns about the activities of homeless people living on the Sandhills Estate at Byron Bay close to top-of-the-range holiday accommodation.

Homeless people have been living in tents on the estate on and off for the last couple of years and the property managers have reported damage to gardens and theft of builders' tools.

Byron Bay Police Duty Officer, Inspector Ian Fitzsimmons, said police had received "numerous" complaints in recent months about the activities of people living on the Crown land estate.

Inspector Fitzsimmons said the complaints had related to noise, swearing and fires.

He said there had to be a complaint before police could act and even then they could only order people to move on if they were causing offence.

The issue of illegal camping was one for the Byron Council to deal with, he said.

But while council rangers have accompanied police to the tent site in the past, the council says that because it is Crown land, it really is an issue for the State Government.

A spokesman for the council's compliance section, said the council was always concerned about any homeless people in the shire.

He said it was a social problem more than a law enforcement issue.

"You have to ask, why are they there in the first place," he said.

"It's not just a straight compliance issue, it's more of a social welfare issue.

"We will go in there if we absolutely have to."

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