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Woorabinda's dark streets an invitation for juvenile crime

A Woorabinda street light with a small mesh metal guard fitted by Ergon to deter vandalism.
A Woorabinda street light with a small mesh metal guard fitted by Ergon to deter vandalism.

A BLUE bubble gum bounty is the latest offence in a juvenile crime spree in the Central Queensland town of Woorabinda and the community is calling for action.

Along with chips, lollies, soft drinks and ice cream, a group of juveniles targeted snack food when they broke into the Woorabinda Café but store co-owner Libby Stanley said it wasn't the first and wouldn't be the last time.

"The community are tired of the same kids and the same nonsense that keeps happening," Ms Stanley said.

"The police out here do their job and arrest these kids and pick them up - and it used to be three strikes and you're out.

"But the past three or four months we have not seem any of them go away.

"There are no consequences for what these kids are doing."

"99.9% of people, kids included, are as good and as decent as any I have met anywhere in the world.

"Many are home by 8pm or 8.30pm but a very small handful just make it a nightmare."

Ms Stanley said a lack of street lighting gave invitation for juveniles to take to the street after dark.

She said Ergon Energy was unreliable in maintaining street lighting with many broken lights going un-fixed.

"It's pitch black and there is not one street light, you can't see a foot in front of your face," she said.

"Without street lights they can hide and get away with things."

But Ergon is taking a dim view on Woorabinda street lighting issue, having replaced 110 of 130 street lights earlier this year - all of which were deliberately damaged.

Ergon Energy corporate communications manager Bob Pleash said Ergon had a significant issue with deliberate vandalism of street lights at Woorabinda.

"We sent our contractors out there in early March and replaced 110, that were deliberately damaged and inoperable, of the 137 street lights in the town at a cost of around $10,000," Mr Pleash said.

"Metal guards were installed to protect the light diffusers, like hardened plastic cover, against projectiles.

"In August our contractors again attended and replaced 34 lights that had been deliberately damaged.

"Smaller mesh metal guards were installed this time."

Mr Pleash said there were significant penalties under the Electricity Act for causing malicious and deliberate damage to electricity infrastructure.

"This situation is totally unacceptable and apart from the significant cost to Ergon through repeat visits, callouts and repairs, the security and safety of the community is compromised," he said.

"We take a very dim view of this type of behaviour."

Topics:  crime, juvenile crime, rockhampton, rockhampton crime



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