Man bashed with iron bar in home invasion


A VIOLENT home invasion and assault in Yamba early yesterday morning left a local businessman bruised and battered.

Around 2am, Robin and Sandra Watling, managers for Beachside Apartments, were woken by strange noises coming from Beachside's sales and marketing office, which is attached to their home on The Boulevard. When Mr Watling went to investigate he was attacked by two teenage males, one of whom brandished a small crowbar.

"They didn't realise we lived here and they were trying to pull open the door into our house," Mr Watling said.

"I got up, half asleep and unlocked the door to open it ... and next minute I was confronted by two silly, strong males, one of whom was carrying a jemmy bar or a crowbar. He started whacking me with it, so I put my arms out to deflect the blows."

The brave resident put up a courageous fight, enough to successfully deter the thieves, who escaped, but not before pelting a bottle at Mr Watling.

After the attack, Mr Watling was advised by ambulance officers to go to Maclean District Hospital for a check-up, but the shaken businessman said he didn't want to leave his wife or his house.

Mr Watling suffered heavy bruising to his arms and yesterday visited the Maclean District Hospital for x-rays.

The Beachside manager said he was appalled by the frequency and severity of recent break-ins at Yamba.

"I've been managing hotels and motels in the Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea for the past 25 years and I've never come across anything so violent," he said.

"If I hadn't been able to protect myself I could be gone."

The home attack follows a recent spate of crime and thefts at Yamba which police say have increased over the holiday period.

Earlier this week, a Landcruiser 4WD was stolen from Beachside Apartments after thieves allegedly broke into a unit, stole a set of car keys and took off with the vehicle.

A number of car break-ins near Yamba beaches also have been reported.

Police say recent thefts are seasonal and opportunistic.

"It's a seasonal increase in these kinds of crimes, but there are no figures to say it's worse than any other year," Yamba police sergeant Volker Ruehe said.

"People who park near the beach need to make sure they don't leave any valuables in the car and definitely not in plain eyesight."

The Beachside office yesterday was closed while police continued their investigations into the home invasion.

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