By ADRIAN MILLER
FOR more than three years a building development in Bimble Avenue, South Grafton, has been plagued by a gang of juvenile vandals behaving above the law.
The children have been accused of abusing workers, smashing windows, starting fires and stealing equipment.
They have also thrown rocks at cars and concrete at people, and broken into a house and poured paint throughout the kitchen.
They are known to police and have been taken to court on numerous occasions, but because they are younger than 12 years of age, it appears the system can do nothing to stop them.
Larry O'Mara is one builder who is sick and tired of the trouble.
He said there had been constant abuse, taunts and vandalism by the group ever since he started working at the sub-division.
"For three years this has been ongoing, virtually every single day there has been some sort of trouble," he said.
"I've gone home at night thinking 'it'll be right tonight', but then they've come out after dark when they should be in bed.
"Every day I come to work wondering how much damage they have caused and what it's going to be."
He said the group of kids, which numbers anywhere from two to nine all aged under 12, are just riding their luck and will eventually cause someone serious injury.
"Two weeks ago they were throwing rocks at cars ... and they've taken bolts out of a verandah and thrown them at a truck driver driving past," he said.
"Sooner or later they are going to hurt someone. The law of averages says if they keep doing what they are doing something will go wrong and they will kill someone one day."
He said the children had become more brazen over the years, and their exploits had escalated.
"They've attempted to burn down two houses, the first one on the top of the hill just before Christmas and three months ago they set a fire underneath another one," he said.
Tom Macdonald also works on the building site.
He said he wondered why the Department of Community Services (DoCS) had not intervened.
"Why aren't DoCS getting involved? These kids are out to all hours of the night, even Sunday nights," he said.
"Why do they continually get away with it?"
Mr O'Mara and Mr Macdonald both heaped praise on local police. The pair said local officers had done everything in their power to stop the children.
"I'm not blaming police because their hands are tied," Mr O'Mara said.
"The police are doing the best job they can, but they are under-resourced and under-manned, especially at night."