A beachfront holiday rental in Altona was completely trashed at the weekend, with walls ripped out, windows broken and fittings smashed.
The double-storey house on the Esplanade had been rented out on Booking.com for $473 a night.
A neighbour who asked not to be named said a loud party had started Saturday night.
“At one stage it was very noisy and a police car came past and they stopped outside the house but I don’t think they went inside.
“Then another police car came along and whether they went inside I don’t know but they kept an eye on the place because somebody must have complained about the noise.
“I woke up at sunrise and there was more noises in the place and I saw a police car had just arrived and that’s when I saw they were all Africans and some of them started to disperse and go home … but a number stayed behind.
“I went back to bed and there was more smashing and smashing.
“Eventually, some of them came outside and they argued beside the house … I think eight of them were arguing amongst themselves, all the males. And then there was more smashing and eventually they all disappeared.”
Damage to the four-bedroom home includes numerous smashed windows, vandalised fittings, objects and furniture, plaster wall ripped off and doors torn apart.
Altona Meadows resident Fran Brown said she drove past about 8.30am and saw a number of people in the middle of the road.
“There were some up on the balcony throwing things over the balcony,” she said.
“I reckon I saw a chair at one stage.
“Every window from what we could see was smashed.
“Some were sitting on the footpath smoking bongs.
“You could see the drapes were all pulled down from the windows and half hanging off the rods.
“One of their cars was just stopped in the middle of the road with no one in it.
“Eventually, some got in that car and some got in the other car and drove off.
“Then some of the others then left. But they all left in groups of two or three and all went in different directions.
“But when we drove down Pier Street 10 minutes later they were all back together – it was almost like they agreed, ‘Let’s all split up like they’re looking for a big gang of us’.”
Star Weekly visited the property on Sunday afternoon as several police officers and the owner’s representative arrived to assess the damage.
The owner’s respresentive said the property had been rented out on Saturday night.
“I feel very bad now,” she said. “I think I’m sick now. I just feel very cold.”
Star Weekly has seen footage showing seven hooded youths running into the property at dawn.
Victoria Police spokesman Alistair Parsons said investigators believe the property was booked for a number of nights via an online booking service, and a party was held on Saturday night.
“The property manager attended the property on Sunday to find the property extensively damaged, including smashed doors and windows, and a number of items stolen,” he said.
Police urge anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.