Vandals go on rampage
VANDALS have run riot through the streets of Park Beach and The Jetty trashing a dozen vehicles in a despicable run of destruction.
The vandalism spree happened shortly after 1am on Sunday.
A mob of up to six young men smashed car windows with timber stakes and shopping trolleys, pulled traffic signs from the ground and drove the poles into vehicles parked on the street.
Families and businesses woke to the scene of ruin on Ocean Parade, Orlando Street, Harbour Drive and Edgar, Mildura and Hood streets.
Police tracking the trail of destruction yesterday said it was one of the worst incidents of vandalism ever committed in Coffs Harbour.
A 22-seat bus left parked near the Coffs Harbour Surf Club was the worst hit.
Ten windows, including the front and back windscreen were smashed.
Surf club officials say the incident alone will impact on tourists returning to Coffs Harbour.
The trashed mini bus had been rented by the visiting Alexandra Headland Surf Club, whose crews competed at the Coffs Harbour Craft Carnival.
Left without a way home, crew members hitched rides with other Sunshine Coast surf clubs.
“I cannot understand what pleasure anyone would get from this, it's disgraceful,” life member of the club Ray Munroe said.
“We understand this kind of thing happens everywhere. But I'm sure when we sit down to work out how much this has cost, we might decide not to come back to Coffs Harbour,” he said.
Coffs Harbour Surf Club president Terry Maher was at a loss to explain the damage.
“This definitely is not a good look for Coffs Harbour. Absolutely disgraceful,” Mr Maher said.
The trail of destruction spanned from the surf club along Coffs Creek to Englands Park.
The Pet Porpoise Pool had rocks thrown through its glass doors, while the angry mob went on a rampage in nearby streets.
Mildura Street resident Donna Tozer, a mother of two, woke to find a road sign had been thrown through the rear windows of her sedan.
“I heard a group of young people yelling and screaming in the street and getting rowdy around 1.30am, it sounded like they were pushing over wheelie bins,” Ms Tozer said.
“I had no idea of what damage they were doing in the street, not until I woke up this morning and a neighbour said you better come and look at your car,” she said.
The culprits also stomped cars in Mildura and Edgar streets and smashed the windows on a van.
Two other vehicles left at the surf club were also damaged, along with cars on Ocean Parade and Harbour Drive.
The wanton acts of vandalism come just a month after local residents met at the Park Beach Bowling Club to discuss law and order and the unruliness of local neighbourhoods after dark.
Police hope forensic tests and public information will help to bring to justice those responsible for the costly Sunday morning rampage.
Several of the crime scenes were dusted for fingerprints yesterday morning, as a host of local residents offered statements to police.
Coffs Clarence Police Area Command Supervisor Senior Constable Alan Millward said the degree of damage was startling.
“In terms of the sheer number of vehicles involved and the distance over which the damage occurred, yes this is one of the worst events of vandalism seen in Coffs Harbour,” Snr. Const. Millward said.
At this stage police know a group of up to six young males were seen targeting cars in Park Beach and Jetty neighbourhoods.
Closed circuit security vision from local hotels, clubs and service stations, may also come in handy to investigators.
Anyone who saw the group of misbehaving youths is urged to contact Coffs Harbour Police Station on 66520299 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.