30 Jan 2017

Wellington's tyre slasher blames council inaction

7:03 pm on 30 January 2017

A man who slashed tyres in suburban Miramar, Wellington, after becoming frustrated at a lack of progress with parking problems in the area, says he was not the only one doing the damage.

car tyre puncture generic

Photo: 123RF

David Johns, 52, appeared in the Wellington District Court this afternoon and pleaded guilty to a representative charge of criminal damage and carrying an offensive weapon - a sharpened screwdriver.

He was caught last week as a result of a plainclothes police operation.

Officers saw him stab tyres in at least two Miramar Streets. When he was arrested, police found a sharpened screwdriver in his vest pocket and another in his vehicle.

The prosecutor, Alice Handcock, told the court today Johns said he punctured tyres on numerous occasions over the last six months, but he could not remember how many.

She said the police believed at least 300 vehicles had been damaged, but Johns' lawyer said his client believed he damaged fewer than 100.

Parking problems in Miramar have come to a head in recent months, with locals frustrated at airport users parking on suburban streets rather than paying for parking at the airport.

Wellington District Court.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Some industrial and rental companies parked their vehicles on Miramar streets.

Residents put out traffic cones and erected makeshift fences to try to stop airport users from parking on their grass verges and in 2013 a cyclist died from injuries he suffered after hitting one such fence.

Johns' lawyer, Peter McKenzie-Bridle, told the court his client said the parking problem had been developing for the last six years and the council had not dealt with it.

"It's left many residents exasperated by the manner in which primarily industrial or commercial operators have used the parking for their own purposes.

"There's a sense that without any policing of residential parking facilities ... it's been able to be monopolised by those operators."

Mr McKenzie-Bridle said Johns' actions did have some effect because fewer people no parked in the area, but there had still been no response from the council.

"He says he he wasn't the only person doing it, but ....[his] offending got out of hand. He has deep regret and remorse for the harm that's been caused."

Mr McKenzie-Bridle said Johns wanted to be dealt with today and sought a community work sentence, saying his client was on income support and had no assets or means to make reparation.

Judge Bill Hastings called for several reports, including one looking at psychiatric issues. He remanded Johns on bail until he is sentenced in April.