Photographs of tags that have been graffitied throughout Mapua have been sent to Christchurch in a bid to identify the culprits.
Residents are incensed at the tagging of their village that happened on Wednesday night.
Senior constable Donna Bower, of Motueka, said the tagging was extensive along Aranui Rd, from the skatepark, the toilet block, through the shopping centre and on residents' fences.
"We just don't see tagging like that in Mapua," she said. "This is a quiet village."
The tags included "Chch" and "West", indicating they were possibly from Christchurch, she said.
Images of the tags had been sent to the city council in Christchurch to see if they can be identified.
Inquiries would also be made at camp sites and other places, she said.
The paint used was mostly black and silver, and some blue.
She appealed for anyone with information to contact police.
At the shopping centre, Tessa Mae's With Attitude owner Glenys Osmond said she was blown away by the tagging which was on a front and a side wall.
The Naked Bun Patisserie & Cafe owner Joanna Saville-Barnes said she presumed from the "Chch" tags that the tagger was from Christchurch.
"It looks very bad for people coming in to this nice sleepy hollow, and I'm quite appalled that somebody from Christchurch where they've had such a bad time would come up here and make a mess of this place. I would have thought they would come and enjoy it here. I'm quite upset."
When the skatepark had previously been tagged the Tasman District Council had quickly cleaned it up but this time it would not pick up the bill for cleaning up the village mall and private residences, she said.
Council reserves manager Beryl Wilkes said the skatepark, which had just been extended a month ago, had only been tagged once or twice in the past year.
The council would call in its contractors to clean off the tags on the toilet block and skatepark.
So far, halfway through the financial year, graffiti and vandalism had cost the council $19,000. "That's money that comes out of the budget that can't be spent on other more positive things which is a bit sad for the community," she said.
It is not the only trouble out of towners are causing.
Three Christchurch teenagers who allegedly mugged a Motueka man have been arrested and charged with robbery. Two are 17 years old and the other 15.
They are alleged to have stolen the 20-year-old Motueka man's wallet and hat in the Pah St area at 6pm on Wednesday.
The older pair are to appear in the Nelson District Court on January 22 and the 15-year-old will be referred to Youth Aid.
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