Quick getaway for crooks

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

YOUNG criminals are using hidden laneways and bushland in Goonellabah as their major escape routes after committing home break-ins.

Residents claim the crime transitways also have an accompanying, nasty anti-social problem.

Youths as young as nine years old have been seen regularly with alcohol in one laneway, which has become a hangout for drunken misbehaviour, residents claim. One group of residents fed up with the continuing problems wants Lismore City Council to close a track between Oliver and Graeme avenues.

"Kids as young as nine walk through the lane carrying grog," said one resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity

"We caught a group of young girls urinating on the back of people's fences out there the other day."

The small group made a formal submission to council in January asking for the path to be closed.

Council spokesman Russell Kelly, however, said not all residents shared their view.

"Council has written to residents about that proposal and there was significant support to keep it open," he said.

Lismore Crime Prevention Officer Snr Const Michael Hogan said laneways were a definite issue in Goonellabah.

"In general they are a problem, and there was one linking Hayes Street to the Goonellabah Shopping Centre which actually got closed off," he said.

"We did a security audit of the area last year and recommended that council consider the closure of the walkway and stairs running between Millgate and Phillip and Margate and Phillip streets."



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