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‘They have no respect’

A stolen car was used to vandalise Greytown’s Soliders Memorial Park. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Joyriders use stolen car to tear up park

Hoons have once again shown total disregard for Wairarapa’s green spaces.

People joyriding in at least one stolen vehicle ripped up the football pitches at Soldiers Memorial Park in Greytown in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Leanne Osborne said thieves took her car from outside the workingmen’s club after an event on Saturday night.

She learned from police the next morning that it had been used to tear up the grass at the park on Kuratawhiti St.

“They have no respect for the locals and the town.

“I’ve got children, I know you can’t control everything they do, but I think families need to hold them accountable.”

She said Greytown was proud of its assets and the thieves had “no idea how their actions affect the families in the community”.

Osborne said the car was still with police on Monday for a forensic and an insurance evaluation. She confirmed she was $500 out of pocket from the insurance excess.

Osborne said she had learned that two other vehicles were also stolen in Greytown at the weekend. However, police did not confirm the thefts. There was only one police report of a vehicle “speeding and losing traction on Kuratawhiti St about 3am” on Sunday morning.

Groundsman and cricket club chairman John Gray said between the council and the weather, the club hoped the damage would be repaired before the start of the cricket season.

He said the vandals had removed the wooden bollards at the entrance to the grounds on Kuratawhiti St. They were found lying next to Osborne’s still running car, which had its tyres slashed.

Greytown Junior Football Club president Gary Hewson said the incident was the second act of vandalism at the park in six weeks.

In July, vandals attempted to access the park by smashing through a gate. On that occasion, they were unable to enter the field but the gate and posts were destroyed.

He said it was fortunate that there was only one weekend left of the football season, but the incident had caused significant damage to one junior and two senior football pitches.

“The council are discussing what to do, there may be some reseeding and filling in of soil.”

Damage to Soldiers Memorial Park football pitch.

Hewson said the football club had reached out to the community but it was no closer to finding out who was responsible.

“I sense it is a small group.

“Maybe it would be worthwhile for the council to explore concrete bollards or CCTV so that next time we can identify the perpetrators.”

A South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] spokesperson said the council was aware of the damage with park contractors reporting the latest incident to the police.

SWDC said the cost of grass replacement was still unknown, and it was too early to talk about preventing future vandalism.

“Our focus has been on addressing the immediate issue and we have yet to consider preventative measures.

“The bollards that were removed at Soldiers Memorial, so the offenders could gain access, have been reinstated. We use CCTV footage where available and provide this to police.”

SWDC said it encouraged the public to report vandalism to the council.

The vandalism at Soldiers Memorial Park is the latest in a string of similar incidents in Wairarapa.

Earlier this year, Martinborough Town Square, and Masterton’s Henley Lake Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Millard Ave were targeted by vehicles doing burnouts.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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