BROKEN HEARTED: Peter Savage fathoms to make sense of vandal attacks as forensic crime scene officer Sloan Hamilton fingerprint
BROKEN HEARTED: Peter Savage fathoms to make sense of vandal attacks as forensic crime scene officer Sloan Hamilton fingerprint

Business morale smashed

MARY MANN mary.mann@northernstar.com.au COMMUNITY leaders are outraged and concern is growing that vandals have taken over Ballina.

It follows yet another night of senseless vandalism to the town's CBD businesses, after six River Street shops were damaged on Thursday night.

Locals have been left wondering what is happening to their friendly, coastal community and are asking if it's becoming a town under siege.

Peter Savage, licensee of Century 21 Ballina which was one of the businesses targeted, said he was puzzled as to why such incidents were becoming more frequent.

"If they are going to kick things, why can't they join a soccer club, do kickboxing or do something beneficial for themselves, instead of ruining other people's livelihoods," Mr Savage said.

"Something has to be done."

Ballina Chamber of Commerce representative Bryan Marriott said the incidents were a huge waste of time for retailers. "They were out at 1.30 in the morning cleaning up broken glass," Mr Marriott said.

"I just hope the police catch those responsible, so they can take some action.""

Serious Coffee, Truck Stop Sk8 and the Ice Creamery Internet Cafe had their shop windows cracked on Thursday night, and Hairworks On River Street and Chelle's Indulgence Beauty Salon had their windows smashed and broken.

They are the latest in a long run of similar acts in the town.

Police Inspector Mick Dempsey said police forensics units had taken fingerprints and collected evidence relating to Thursday night's spate of vandalism.

Paul Scharka, manager of Truck Stop Sk8, said he suspected Thursday night's vandals had been on an angry rampage through the town.

"Most of the kids around here respect my shop. I've already spoken to some of the skater boys and they're keeping their ears to the ground about who it could have been.""

Tiffany Lane from Hairworks said she had spent two-and-a-half hours in the dark cleaning the broken glass from her shopfront.

A previous member of the now defunct Neighbourhood Watch in Ballina, who did not wish to be named for fear of being targeted by vandals, said Ballina's vandalism and burglary problems were getting worse.

"People should be more vigilant and should not be afraid to report anything suspicious or any incident, no matter how small it is.""

Information about the incidents should go to Ballina police on 6681 8699 or Crime Stoppers on 1300 333 000.



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