Coffs Coast has been hit by mindless acts of vandalism again. This wheelie bin at Diggers Beach was reduced to molten plastic.
Coffs Coast has been hit by mindless acts of vandalism again. This wheelie bin at Diggers Beach was reduced to molten plastic.

Be warned!

By KIREN THANDI

VANDALS, you're on notice.

We see evidence of your selfish and senseless acts around our towns every day and the Coffs Coast community is sick of it.

Diggers Beach, Park Beach, and the Sawtell Guide Hall were targeted in acts of mindless, malicious destruction on Tuesday night.

It was the third time the Guide Hall had been targeted, which Sawtell District leader Lorraine White said appeared to happen every school holiday.

All the doors were knocked down or damaged, the fire extinguisher thrown through another door, and a sledgehammer had been used to cause more damage to walls and around the kitchen.

Ms White said it appeared to be an act of school holiday vandalism, with kids getting bored and causing destruction.

"I'm so upset," Ms White said as she went through the mess. "We've given so much time to our youth, in the end it's them throwing it back in our faces.

"We don't get paid for what we do, we're volunteers; it feels like they've thrown the sledgehammer in our faces."

Ms White said it was particularly disheartening as they had just paid the bill from the vandalism which happened at the hall during the last school holidays.

Forensic consultant Richard Szlicht was at the scene, and said that while there were many acts of vandalism, there weren't necessarily many vandals ? but the ones that are out there are active and tended to strike locally.

Mr Szlicht investigates volume crime scenes, collecting evidence using a variety of methods including DNA, shoeprints and fingertips which are sent to a database to find a match, or to keep for future matchings.

"If we don't get them in one spot, we may get them another time," he said.

Late yesterday morning council workers removed a slippery-dip from Park Beach after vandals had dismantled it.

At Diggers Beach a barely recognisable wheelie bin lay as a dried-up river of green plastic, its contents and wheels in a charred heap in the middle.

Further along, part of a fence in the carpark had been knocked down with the logs pulled from bolts and left on the ground; there was evidence of another fire nearby.

Last week The Coffs Coast Advocate reported on damage at the Botanic Gardens and other places in the area, revealing that such acts cost ratepayers more than $100,000 every year.

Mayor Keith Rhoades announced a $1,000 reward from Coffs Harbour City Council to anyone who could supply information leading to a conviction in cases of vandalism, which still stands.

This week, Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser called on parents of adolescents who are on school holidays to ensure they know where their children are and what they are doing throughout the holiday period.

Mr Fraser cited a number of incidents of vandalism in the Coffs Harbour area, including $8,000 worth of damage suffered by Skinner Motors, believed to be caused by juveniles.

However, this is not to say that all young people are vandals.

16-year-olds Jamie Furlonger and Anthony Campbell, of Toormina, were not impressed by the damage caused by vandals, saying it was stupid and the people who caused it should find something better to do.

"The kids get bored, but they should try and find themselves a job," said Anthony.

Jamie said that more discipline was required, and the people who caused the vandalism should clean it up and pay for the damage caused.

"The people who do it don't realise they're causing other people harm," Jamie said. "The taxpayers' money used to fix up damage caused by vandalism could be used elsewhere.

"My dad's paying to fix that ? one day I'll be doing it."



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