WHO WILL SAVE THIS TOWN... and the kids who are ruining it?
By JENNY DELL
SUE KNOX is fed up.
The Coraki woman has described the troubled town as 'like living in a Third World country' after weeks of violence and vandalism have driven residents to speak out in an effort to save their once idyllic community.
Residents say they are suffering verbal abuse, having rubbish thrown in their yards, stones thrown at their homes, children fighting and yelling in the street in the middle of the night, and drunken parties in neighbouring houses, on an almost daily basis.
Uniting Church elder Vic Heiberg said kids as young as 10 had smashed six glass windows at the church.
"There's a lady over the road who lives alone and won't leave her house she's so scared," he said.
"Something must be done before there's really serious trouble ... there could be a tragedy soon."
Richmond Valley councillor Norma Wise said she had no problems with the families, and felt it was 'not too late to save these children'.
Residents blame a 14year-old boy who allegedly wielded knives and caused extensive property damage in Coarki late Wednesday.
However, the boy's relatives say he has a drug and alcohol problem.
The boy allegedly 'became agitated' and ran down Grenfell Street armed with knives and kicking parked cars.
Inspector Dave Driver, of Lismore police, yesterday said the youth would be 'dealt with' under the Young Offenders Act.
Cousins of the boy claim he had been drinking all day and had a marijuana habit.
"If something starts, he'll start. He goes off. I don't know if he's got ADD ? he just 'schizes out' ? it's been happening for a couple of years," one cousin said.
Down at the Caravan Park next to the Richmond River, Norman Jones has also come across trouble.
"On Monday the two ringleaders of the group of younger kids took my lawnmower and dumped it in the river," he said.
"The police came and interviewed the residents of the park. The kids were still running around here but I didn't see thepolice officer talking to them. All this was happening during school hours.
"I know these kids and they are not typical of their families, who are nice people.
"But at least one of these kids is going to end up in Grafton jail unless there's a turnaround.
Susan Privaid, of the Department of Community Services, said yesterday a number of government agencies were working together to address issues in the Coraki community.