Dean St attack: Betteridge defends business

THE owner of Sweethearts Pizza has launched a stinging attack on Albury police after an alleged assault on Dean Street.

Daryl Betteridge says police have their facts wrong and his shop is not the centre of all violence in Albury’s main street.

A police report released to the media detailed an assault of two women in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Police say the women, aged 20 and 21, were punched in the face by a third woman and sustained minor injuries.

The police report said the incident happened outside a pizza shop in Dean Street.

Mr Betteridge said that was not the case.

“That is categorically wrong,” he said.

“No one was assaulted outside Sweethearts Pizza last night.

“I do not know where the police got their information from but I would implore them to at least do some minor fact checking before they denigrate my business and put my family’s good name to a false and erroneous report.

“If this continues I’d have no option but to conclude this is a personal vendetta.”

Albury police crime manager Inspector Brad Blanchard said the report was based on what police had been told by the victims.

“Facts are facts, we’re only reporting what’s been reported to us,” Insp Blanchard said.

“We’ve got nothing against any business in town, how they operate or what they do.”

The late-night assault is the third in Dean Street in little more than a month.

A man claimed to have been king-hit outside a late-night eatery on November 29.

And a Lavington father was left permanently blind in his left eye after a savage, unprovoked attack on November 11.

The attacks defied a downward trend of violence in NSW pubs and clubs as revealed last month by NSW Minister for Hospitality George Souris.

Cr Betteridge said his venue could not be held responsible for every violent incident in Dean Street.

“To say I’m causing these incidents by offering food, it’s a farcical accusation,” he said.

He said most violence was caused by people drinking excessively, taking illicit drugs or drinking while on prescription drugs.

With the city’s outdoor and dining activities policy up for review next year, Cr Betteridge said he was fighting to retain Sweethearts’ outdoor seating.

The policy is open for public comment until February.

“I fought four years ago to retain my outdoor seating and it’s a fight I’m having again four years later,” Cr Betteridge said.

“The game hasn’t changed, the rules of engagement haven’t changed.

“I’m just about sick of it.”

RELATED:We spent the early hours of Sunday morning at ground level on Dean Street. This is what we saw.

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