Teenagers cause mayhem at shops

By John Cousins

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Teenagers unable to control the latest fad in skateboards are smashing shop windows in the city's downtown.

A Grey St florist has been hardest hit by the new longboards, with girl riders twice sending their boards through the same plate glass window on the side of Trevor and Rachel Masters' shop.

It cost Grey Street Flower Company $1000 in insurance excess payments to repair the $2400 worth of damage last Christmas.

"Both claimed they did not know that skateboarding was banned in the inner city," Mr Masters said.

The problem with the longboards was that they were harder to manoeuvre than conventional skateboards. One of the breakages was caused after the girl swerved to miss hitting a pedestrian.

In another incident involving a longboard, the Masters saw a teen lose control and jump off coming down Grey St. The board flew under two parked cars and ended up slamming into a wheel of a third car.

"The last time I looked, the pavement was for people," Mr Masters said.

The issue of out-of-control longboarders was debated at a city council meeting yesterday after the problem was highlighted by Mainstreet Tauranga manager Kirby Weis. He suggested signs to remind young people that skateboarding was not allowed downtown. Parking wardens could act as ambassadors to educate teenagers about the ban.

Councillor David Stewart said wardens would need roller skates to catch the kids.

Mount Maunganui Shopping Centre was also having problems with skateboarders. Mount Mainstreet manager Leanne Brown said she had spoken to police about skateboarders holding on to cars and being towed down the street.

"We have 35 signs saying 'no skateboarding' and guess what, the skateboarders go straight underneath them."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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