Residents irate about young troublemakers

FED-UP and under siege by "packs of up to 20 kids", South Grafton residents gathered to vent their concerns and look for solutions at a community meeting held at the New School of Arts yesterday.

Tempers were frayed as residents described their experiences and frustrations at a perceived lack of action by police and the courts.

One man said he had several iron bars thrown at his car while driving along Rushforth Rd last week, and others said they had been threatened with knives, rocks and taunts.

Another resident, a mother-of-six who asked not to be named, said she had been threatened by a group of children and teenagers wielding golf clubs.

"For the past three or four months myself and other residents of Toona Way (South Grafton) have had rocks thrown at our houses," she said.

"Some of these kids are younger than 10 ranging up to about 15.

"They don't go to school at all ... I want to know why these children aren't at school and what the education department is doing about it.

"The parents don't have control of their children ... they need to stop drinking and taking drugs and look after their kids."

She said calling police had made no difference.

Representatives from Coffs-Clarence Police, the NSW Department of Housing, South Grafton High School and community groups were on hand to hear the grievances of the community and offer solutions, but they warned there was no easy fix.

Police Inspector Murray Gillett repeatedly urged victims to make a formal statement to police and to the Department of Housing if necessary.

"The message we need to get through is we need people to report these incidents and provide evidence, hard evidence, so serious matters can be dealt with," Insp Gillett said.



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