Freedom campers park up at unoccupied holiday homes

Freedom campers are not just camping on selected sites but parking on private property without the owners' knowledge or permission. Photo / Warren Buckland
Freedom campers are not just camping on selected sites but parking on private property without the owners' knowledge or permission. Photo / Warren Buckland

Police are cracking down on freedom campers who are parking their caravans at holiday homes while the owners are out of town.

The crackdown comes ahead of Whangamata's Beach Hop event which starts on Wednesday, March 22 and runs until Sunday, March 26.

Over the summer holiday period and especially when events have been held in Whangamata, police have had to remove a number of people camping on private property without the owners' knowledge or permission.

More than half the properties in the town are owned by people who reside elsewhere, said Thames-Coromandel District Council Whangamata area manager Garry Towler.

Groups have been arriving in town with no accommodation, he said.

"We have had some incidents where they start cruising around, eventually setting up camp on a property that is not occupied. What happens next is what concerns police and our council. The campers have no toilet, often no water, or they turn the water on at the [main valve] and leave it on.

"There's no rubbish disposal and the property is used as a place to party. In some instances, damage has occurred to the property."

The council is asking absentee ratepayers who are not attending Beach Hop and not letting their place out for the event to email them at customer.services@tcdc.govt.nz, with contact details and a confirmation that no one is permitted to be on the property.

"The list will be handed to police who will keep an eye out for the new breed of freedom camper during the next big event in town, the Beach Hop in March," Towler said.

- NZ Herald

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