Carnarvon businesses fed up and call for action following juvenile crime spree

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Security camera images from Coral Coast helicopters office at Carnarvon Airport on the night of Monday April 5 2021.
Camera IconSecurity camera images from Coral Coast helicopters office at Carnarvon Airport on the night of Monday April 5 2021. Credit: Geoff Vivian/Picture: Coral Coast Helicopter Services, Geoff Vivian The Geraldton Guardian

Carnarvon businesses are becoming fed up with a juvenile crime spree targeting their premises and Shire-run facilities, which they say is tarnishing the town’s reputation.

“It’s getting to the point where you feel like you’re lying to people,” Coral Coast Helicopter Services operator Justin Borg said.

“You tell them it’s a great place, then they get broken into.”

Vandals broke into Mr Borg’s Carnarvon Airport premises, trashing the office and spraying graffiti before smashing hire cars outside earlier this month.

This was the evening of the day Mr Borg’s helicopter had rescued a person from Quobba Station and the night before he had to drive his children to Perth.

“I got called out at midnight and I was in the office until 8 o’clock cleaning up,” he said. “I had my junior pilots flying the next day and I had to drive to Perth.”

Coral Coast helicopters office at Carnarvon Airport on the night of Monday April 5 2021.
Camera IconCoral Coast helicopters office at Carnarvon Airport on the night of Monday April 5 2021. Credit: Geoff Vivian/The Geraldton Guardian, Geoff Vivian The Geraldton Guardian

Mr Borg said the vandals had also smashed car windows at the airport.

“The majority of them were hire cars but there were private cars as well, which had tool-boxes broken into and windows smashed,” he said.

“We were finding shovels and hammers that had been taken from the toolboxes.

“They had used them to smash windows.”

Mr Borg said about a dozen competitors in the Gascoyne Dash and Windrush 14 State Titles had their cars broken into on the Saturday and Sunday.

It’s getting to the point where you feel like you’re lying to people. You tell them it’s a great place, then they get broken into.

Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Paul Dixon said his members had a crisis meeting the next Wednesday and were “not happy”.

“They are all united in saying something needs to be done,” he said.

“We are starting to correspond with the appropriate authorities like the various Aboriginal corporations, (Department of Child Protection) and various agencies.

“We are hoping that a collective of the people and agencies can come up with some sort of a plan that would better manage the issues we have in the town.”

Mr Dixon said the Youth Hub had been broken into three times during that weekend. “Some of those are biting the hand that feeds them,” he said.

Coral Coast helicopters office at Carnarvon Airport.
Camera IconCoral Coast helicopters office at Carnarvon Airport. Credit: Supplied, Coral Coast Helicopters

Shire president Eddie Smith confirmed the vandalism at the airport, and said the Shire-run Youth Hub had resumed operations.

“We have got these disengaged youth and we have got to try and deal with them in a different way,” he said.

“On the weekend we had two big events, the Carnarvon Windrush Titles and the Gascoyne Dash.

“Yet we had half a dozen youth who were not even local run amok in a town and that has taken over the media attention.”

North West Central Member Vince Catania said it was not acceptable for youth to be walking the streets at night until the early hours, causing trouble and dysfunction across town.

“We need the parents of these children to be held to account,” he said.

“Despite my numerous letters to Government Ministers and the Premier of Western Australia, no action has been taken.”

A police spokeswoman said juveniles had been apprehended and referred to the police Juvenile Justice Team. “They have not appeared in court,” she said.

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