Vandals do thousands of dollars worth of damage to sports park

By Kristin Edge -
7 comments
The burnt-out wreck of a car on Fishbone Park. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The burnt-out wreck of a car on Fishbone Park. Photo / Michael Cunningham

"Stupid idiots" smashed through a fence, knocked bollards out of the ground and left skid marks across a Whangarei sporting field before igniting and destroying a stolen car.

The field at Otangarei Sports Park, also known as Fishbone Park, has been closed by council until a thorough inspection and assessment of the damage can be done.

The council was removing the burnt-out wreck yesterday following the vandalism spree early on Sunday morning. They were also inspecting the fields behind the City Rugby Clubrooms where it appeared a car had gained access and left skid marks everywhere.

The burnt-out carcass of the Nissan car sat on the sidelines surrounded by numerous brown muddy tyre tracks on the well-groomed green turf. The trail of destruction was clear.

It appeared the car was driven through the fence of an empty section bordering the sports fields off William Jones Dr, through the carpark where three bollards were smashed out of the ground to get access to the field.

One of the most disappointed by the damage was a contractor known as Harry. The first time he saw the mess was yesterday while he was mowing in Otangarei.

"Stupid idiots. Why do this?" he questioned. He was on the phone immediately to find out what course of action was going to be taken. Harry, who did not want his surname used, had been mowing the fields for nine years and took pride in keeping them in great playing condition.

Whangarei District Council parks and recreational manager Paul McDonald said the field would be closed until it could be deemed safe again. He estimated the damage to run into the thousands.

The trail of destruction  that will cost thousands to repair. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The trail of destruction that will cost thousands to repair. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Staff would look at the field and decide what remedial action was needed which would also determine how long the field would remain closed.

"We will have to look whether it needs to be regrassed to bring it up to spec for next season," he said. What he was definite about was that those who were caught damaging fields would be prosecuted and would end up paying reparation for damage.

Police said the car was stolen from Kamo. The wreck was moved yesterday afternoon.

Burnt-out car on Fishbone Park. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Burnt-out car on Fishbone Park. Photo / Michael Cunningham

It was the third car in Otangarei over the weekend destroyed by fire. Firefighters were called to two cars on fire about 4am on Saturday. Both vehicles, on Miro St and Jack St, were ablaze when they arrived.

The damage follows similar vandalism on nearby Tikipunga Sports Ground in June.

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