Charges over brawl
Seven shearers have been arrested and a further two are likely to face charges after an out-of-control birthday party turned into a brawl in Cromwell earlier this month.
Sergeant Simon Paget, of Cromwell, said police were called to a Molyneux Ave house on October 6 and found 10 people fighting in the street.
The incident was linked to ''ill feeling'' between a shearing gang and a group from Cromwell.
Mr Paget said all of the men arrested were shearers. Two were from Cromwell and it was unfortunate that their actions ''have tainted the reputation of our local shearers''.
The rest were from Southland and the North Island and had come to the area for work ''with the wrong attitude'', Mr Paget said.
''From what we know all (the shearers) have been let go (from their jobs),'' Mr Paget said.
''Three got marching orders early because of ongoing problems,'' he said.
The shearers worked for the same gang but Mr Paget declined to name the contractor because they had been co-operative with police during investigations.
The 40th birthday party deteriorated after a carload of seven people arrived at the house. A passenger from the car was knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked, sustaining head injuries that rendered him unconscious.
Pepper spray was used to subdue a person fighting.
All seven shearers faced charges relating to assault or disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence.
They were expected to appear in the Alexandra District Court next month.
Police were preparing to arrest two other people this week who have been ''actively avoiding'' police.
The Southland Times