Youth gangs hold Lennox to ransom
GROUPS of up to 40 'out of control' teenagers are gathering in quiet Lennox Head streets on the weekends to drink and vandalise property, leaving many residents too scared to leave their homes after dark.
One resident, who did not want to be named because he feared the youths would target him, said the situation had escalated over the past two months.
“It seems to have coincided with the alcohol ban around the lake, which came into force because of the Australia Day problems,” he said.
“That ban has pushed young drinkers into the bushland behind Barrett Drive.
“They go there to light fires and drink.
“There is extreme anti-social behaviour and vandalism, although I haven't seen any violence at this stage.
“But these kids are out of control. Some people lock themselves in their homes on a Friday night. It's quite scary.”
The resident said the youths' presence was 'threatening', with up to 40 aged between 15 and 19 gathering in the area.
“This has been going on in Lennox Head for a long time,” he said.
“We have called the police on every occasion, but we know they are stretched.
“More police patrols would definitely help. We need to move these kids along before the trouble starts.”
Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader said it was 'annoying and intimidating behaviour'.
“We need to get these kids jobs and keep them occupied,” she said.
“This needs to be thoroughly investigated so we know what's going on. We also need to do a safety audit. We have to protect our neighbourhoods.
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“We don't want to see this problem get out of hand. It is clearly an issue for the police.
“It is another indication that we need more police patrols in Lennox Head.”
Residents in the street agree.
“The problem is really concerning,” one said.
“Something needs to be done because we have a lot of young children and elderly people in this area, and they can be quite vulnerable.”
Ballina Police duty officer, Inspector Paul Fredericks, could not be contacted yesterday.