Dramatic footage has emerged showing police chasing down one of the residents of a controversial ‘tent city’ which has been built just yards from one of Sydney’s most popular beaches.
Daily Mail Australia recently revealed locals were concerned about the homeless camp erected in the sand dunes at Dee Why on the city’s affluent north beaches.
Tensions escalated on Monday when footage emerged of a fire lit in the sand dunes and a man with a large beard being chased by police near the makeshift camp.
The tent city was then demolished by Northern Beaches Council workers on Tuesday “for public safety reasons”, a spokeswoman for the council said.
Police arrested two men on Monday after one allegedly set fire to a tent inside the homeless community and threatened a man with a machete and a lighter – while another is charged of assaulting the police.
A fire started at the site of the tent city, next to Dee Why Lagoon, forced the council to withdraw the makeshift campsite on Tuesday
Dramatic photos captured by witness Luke Gavahan, lukegavahanmedia, show the shelters of former residents moved into trucks.
Residents of the affluent suburbs say they were robbed and threatened as they walked along the beach by homeless people living in makeshift shelters.
Others have accused them of monitoring bathers through binoculars so they can race down dunes and steal items unattended while owners are in the water.
Some reports claim that residents of the tent city disguise themselves as shopkeepers to walk around parking lots and check unlocked gates.
Dee Why locals say they are scared of the beach dwellers and fear they will damage the delicate ecosystem of the nearby lagoon.
Three makeshift homeless camps, which have sprung up throughout the Covid pandemic, were located in the sand dunes at Dee Why Beach
The Northern Beaches Council removed the controversial ‘tent city’ of Dee Why Beach on Tuesday
“We have been working with relevant homeless support agencies in an ongoing effort to provide assistance to those who have been living in the Dee Why Dunes for several years now,” said Ray Brownlee, CEO of Northern Beaches Council.
“Homelessness is a complex issue and we have sought to approach those affected with understanding and compassion.
‘A violent incident and fire in the dunes of Dee Why this weekend has left the council, with the help of NSW Police, with little choice but to disband the camp and clear away the growing buildup of trash and other materials that pose an ongoing fire and safety hazard.
“The council continues to facilitate assistance to those affected through welfare and housing agencies and to communicate the support options available to them.”
Photos from the camp show the ground covered in rubbish, with residents fearing the homeless could affect the delicate ecosystem of the nearby lagoon
Police supervised as council workers removed makeshift Dee Why homeless camp on Monday
Council workers began cleaning the dunes around 9.30am on Tuesday morning.
Camp residents observed their belongings being removed from the site and were told they could collect them later in the day.
They have so far refused council help to move.
Daily Mail Australia understands that residents of the tent city previously lived in a different location around Dee Why Lagoon, but moved closer to the beach after a fire.
The group is believed to have grown during the Covid pandemic with three campsites now in the area.
Residents of the former makeshift campsite for the homeless have been told they can collect their belongings (above) after the site at Dee Why Beach was cleared
Footage shows police arresting a man, not the man who allegedly started the fire, near the Dee Why tent city on Monday
Council said it decided to remove the campsite after a man allegedly kicked a police officer in the head as they tried to arrest him for allegedly burning down a shelter in the ‘town’ neighbor for the homeless.
NSW Police arrested the man, 35, on Monday after he allegedly set fire to the tent around 4.30pm.
Police detained him at a nearby gas station and used capsicum spray during the arrest as an officer was kicked in the head.
They allege he also threatened another man in the area with a machete and a lighter shortly after the fire was reported.
The council said it had removed the tent city which housed homeless people after two men were arrested on Monday
Trucks full of tarpaulins, sheet metal and other miscellaneous items were removed from the sand dunes at Dee Why Beach on Tuesday
The man was charged with causing damage to property by fire, using an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence, assaulting police officers, and resisting and obstructing police officers.
NSW said the machete and lighter used in the alleged attack threat were later found in the area and taken for forensic analysis.
Another man, 43, was later arrested at Dee Why Lagoon and charged with assaulting and intimidating police.
Dramatic footage and photos taken by Mr Gavahan show the man running away from five police officers who surrounded him as he made his way to the beach.
Both men were denied bail and will appear in Manly Local Court on Tuesday.
It has not been confirmed whether either of the men lived on the beach.
On Tuesday, council workers removed the makeshift tent town from the sand dunes of Dee Why beach
Emergency services responded to calls from a fire that started on Dee Why beach on Monday, leading to the removal of a makeshift homeless camp on Tuesday