Vandalism at estate escalates

20:47, Jan 22 2013
Southland Times photo
Michelle Rogers, with her toddlers Ryley and Vaughan Dunn, and teenager Ben Nicol are sick of vandalism at the Lake Hayes Estate playground.

Lakes Hayes Estate residents are sick of a spate of what many believe is youth vandalism, which appears to be taking a sinister turn.

Police were alerted to a potential mantrap strung across Sylvan St after a woman drove through it about 7am yesterday.

Senior Constable Chris Blackford said the woman heard a loud "pinging" sound as the string or twine, which was tied across the street at the height of her lower windscreen, broke.

When reporting the incident the woman said the string was tied at "the perfect height for the throat of a bike rider".

There were "huge penalties" for such an offence, which could be classified as setting a mantrap or deliberately endangering road users, Mr Blackford said.

"We are very interested in hearing from the public about any sightings or knowledge they may have about the person or persons who set this trap," he said.


Spates of "mindless vandalism" began occurring in the neighbourhood in November, when vandals tagged public toilets at the neighbourhood's central playground.

Last week faeces was smeared on a children's slide and public barbecue in the playground.

Playground users yesterday said they were sick of the vandalism, and disturbed the acts were seemingly growing more sinister.

Michelle Rogers, who was at the playground with her toddlers Ryley and Vaughan, said as soon as darkness fell, the playground turned into a "drinking hangout" for groups of local youngsters.

"I think because [the neighbourhood] is slightly isolated from town they gather here during the evenings. You don't see them here during the day when parents come here with their kids, but it's a different story at night, and everyone's getting really sick of the vandalism that's happening."

Teenager Ben Nicol said the vandalism had spread from the playground, and a friend's house nearby had been struck.

"The younger kids always seem to be annoyed that stuff is getting broken and having to be replaced in the playground, and it seems to be getting worse now that houses around the playground are getting hit as well," he said.

The Southland Times