By BRIDGET CARTER
"Squeegee bandits" were a nuisance in the 1990s, but then they gradually disappeared.
Now windscreen washers are back at traffic lights in Auckland, and staff in the city's police traffic unit don't know why.
The washers sometimes work in groups, and target women alone in vehicles. They move from places such as Balmoral Rd to intersections further south.
Yesterday, Acting Sergeant Grant Huggett said police had started a crackdown on windscreen washers.
"We have taken a stand and thought enough is enough."
Mr Huggett said police were constantly dealing with the same people, and because they were not taking heed of the warnings, they were now being prosecuted.
Two men, Abraham McLean, 46, and Christopher Baussman, 44, are before the Auckland District Court and face fines for breaching Auckland City Council bylaws.
Police allege that the pair were warned about windscreen washing at the intersection of Karangahape and Ponsonby Rds on May 5.
The warning came after numerous complaints from the public.
An off-duty police officer saw them washing windows the next day at the Dominion and Balmoral Rds intersection.
Mr Huggett said the main concern about windscreen washers was that their activity was dangerous and it was only a matter of time before someone was hurt.
An Auckland City Council spokeswoman said a bylaw prohibiting the washers was passed in 1998.
The ban was imposed for drivers' public safety and because window washers could be intimidatory.