Student admits to mall expansion prank

Police have found the culprit behind a hoax letter, which told Christchurch residents their homes were to be bulldozed to make way for a mall.

Senior Sergeant Peter Laloli said police had spoken to a 19-year-old student who had admitted to being involved with the prank, and he would be making amends.

The letters, bearing Christchurch City Council and Westfield Riccarton Mall logos, were delivered to about 100 houses in the Riccarton area.

The residents were told their homes would be demolished so the mall could double its size -- adding a foodcourt, hypermart, ice skating rink and 950 extra carparks.

Mr Laloli said the leaflet drop was a practical joke which had gone wrong.

The council and Westfield management were happy with the actions police had taken, he said.

Keith Derbyshire, former chairman of the Central Riccarton Residents' Association, was one of those who received the letter.

"It's a terribly, terribly sick joke, particularly in this area because there are a very high number of elderly people and a lot of them would be extremely alarmed," he told the Press newspaper.

- NZPA

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