Groups of marauding youths wearing gang colours are intimidating customers at a busy Christchurch shopping area and driving them away.
Police have made a number of arrests for fighting and assault in the area in recent months but are unsure why the teenagers and young adults have chosen to loiter on Division Street in Riccarton.
Businesspeople say they frighten customers. And retail workers say the new Riccarton Metro bus lounge has attracted wayward youngsters who smoke cannabis, fight and urinate against shop fronts.
But the youths claim they protect locals from other gangs and troublemakers.
"We just sort out the people who cause ruckus," Isaac Bennett, a leader of a group calling themselves the Fresh 87 Blood Gang, told Fairfax.
"If we rock around here then people aren't going to start s**t," Bennett's friend, Aidan Champion, said.
Earlier this year a man was attacked in the area by a teenager brandishing a tomahawk. On another occasion a teenage girl was kicked and stomped by a violent group of youngsters.
And on Thursday, police arrested a man hanging around the bus lounge for breach of parole.
A female shop worker, who declined to be named, told Fairfax the teens are a menace.
"You tell them to move, get abused," she said. "People with babies, elderly, have got to diverge right on to the edge of the road," she said. "Day in, day out. I mean, it gets you down.
The Christchurch City Council has hit back by hiring security guards to patrol the bus lounge.
Council transport manager Stefan Thomas said the security guards move on anyone loitering inside the bus lounge, which is used by 1800 people each day.