Donna and John Clark with the rental car that was smashed in Shearman Drive on Wednesday night.
Donna and John Clark with the rental car that was smashed in Shearman Drive on Wednesday night.

Street under siege

By Samantha Turnbull

A relaxing holiday became a terrifying ordeal for Donna and John Clark after they were caught in the middle of a near riot at Goonellabah.

Youths pelted police with bottles during the two hours of chaos in Shearman Drive on Wednesday night.

Police formed a line across the street to confront their attackers. The bedlam stopped about 11pm when officers lit up the area and the group fled.

Yesterday a Department of Housing spokesman said action was being taken to evict one resident at the centre of the incident.

The Clarks, from New Zealand, were visiting Mrs Clark's aunt, May Cook, when they heard a loud bang outside her Shearman Drive home.

The noise was the sound of a group of people jumping on the Clarks' hire car and smashing its windscreen.

The car was damaged about 9pm and was one of the first in a spate of vandalism that included smashed windows and grass fires that continued for two hours.

Lismore police duty officer Insp Glen Gilbert said seven officers attended the street after about six phone calls from concerned residents.

He said no arrests were made, but inquiries were continuing.

"The incident is certainly a cause for concern, and we're lucky no one was injured," Insp Gilbert said.

"I wouldn't rate this as a large-scale incident such as Macquarie Fields. It wasn't a 'riot', it was civil unrest by a group of juveniles".

However, the Clarks and Ms Cook begged to differ.

"We want May to get out of there," said Mr Clark. "We won't have peace of mind until she is."

Ms Cook, who has lived in Shearman Drive for four years, said she had applied for a Department of Housing transfer.

"I want to get out as quick as possible and I don't care where to," she said.

The Clarks yesterday returned their hire car to Hertz and will have to pay $380 towards the damage as part of their insurance agreement.

Next door to Ms Cook, Keith Dunn and Debbie Johnson were also targeted. The windscreen of Mr Dunn's truck was smashed and he was threatened by a teenager on his lawn.

"They were on an absolute rampage," Ms Johnson said.

"It was completely unprovoked, uncontrolled, drunken, violent behaviour.

"The amount of glass on the road made it look like the crystal mile."

However, Mr Dunn said he had no plans to leave the place he has called home for 20 years.

"It's a good street, the kids who did this aren't from here," he said.



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