Palmerston North students at it again

Palmerston North students are at it again - setting furniture alight and frustrating emergency services.

Firefighters were called to Ada St last night to put out a fire started by students in the midst of back-to-university celebrations.

Palmerston North station officer Ian Penn said a single mattress had been dragged from a nearby house into the middle of the street, piled with cardboard and set alight shortly after 10.30pm.

''It had potential to get out of hand, so we had to stamp it out quickly,'' he said.

There appeared to be four parties running on Ada St last night, with a large number of students spilling out onto the street, Mr Penn said.

''Unfortunately there was quite a number of intoxicated people on the street so police were called down.''

Palmerston North police Senior Sergeant Brett Calkin said police patrolled the area to keep an eye on activities but students were fairly well behaved.

''They're young people and for lots of them it's their first time away from home ... we just want to make sure they're safe and not doing something dangerous,'' Mr Calkin said.

''If we go down and tell them to 'pull your head in' and they do, we've got to give them credit for that.''

Mr Calkin said this week was known to be busy with student celebrations as O-Week events got underway.

''It's always hard to know what to expect at this time of year, but police will be spending time down [student streets].''

O-Week is traditionally a time when student associations from tertiary education providers organise a host of events for new and returning students as they ease into university life.

Palmerston North's events started last Saturday night with the annual Toga Party and would continue until this Saturday, with a concert fronted by X-factor star Benny Tipene.

A spate of student-lit fires after end-of-year exams last year had Palmerston North's emergency services considering strong action to combat the fire-lighting activities.

Police would be remaining alert with regular patrols down problem streets this week, Mr Calkin said.

Manawatu Standard