20 Mar 2017

Mobs of youngsters target Northland Mobil, liquor store

7:40 am on 20 March 2017

People in Kaikohe are demanding answers after havoc in the Northland town caused by mobs of children.

Half a dozen children walked into a liquor store on Friday night, walked out with boxes of beer, and took them to an adult party.

Later, about 20 youngsters hurled rocks and tried to kick in the glass doors of the Mobil service station.

They were aged between 14 and 16, police said. One has been identified and referred to Youth Aid.

Paul Knight, manager of the Ngapuhi-owned Mobil outlet, said the service station had been hit five times in 18 months.

This time it got off relatively lightly, he said.

"We've got a repair bill to the door, and some of the mechanics of the door to realign it."

He estimated the cost at less than $1000.

"If they'd gained entry it would have been a different story."

Kaikohe community patrol co-ordinator Tony Taylor said only five police officers were working in the whole mid-north area that night, and they were busy elsewhere.

"These kids just run riot."

Mr Taylor said two officers were in Kerikeri and two in Paihia on Friday. A fifth officer who had been in Kerikeri had returned to Kaikohe to deal with the incident. On Sunday night there were three officers for the mid-north, he said.

Mr Taylor said locals were stressed and angry about gangs of youths, as young as 11, who were stealing cars and breaking into propertes.

"Nobody can do anything with them," he told Morning Report.

He said about 20 families in the area were causing problems and parents and adults were protecting the children from police action.

The local branch of the National Party said Kaikohe had reached crisis point and its chair has asked Police Minister Paula Bennett to investigate.