Wanton theft and vandalism of public property is costing Northland ratepayers more than $1million annually.
In disgusting and almost unbelievable acts of stupidity, vandals smash light fittings, steal soap and toilet dispensers, break skylights and windows and kick holes in walls and doors of public property.
Setting fire to sanitary bins, splashing menstrual blood and human excrement over walls, stuffing cans, bottles and disposal nappies down toilet cisterns and even arson have landed Northland ratepayers with hefty repair bills.
In the Far North, where the problem is worse than the other districts, Mayor Wayne Brown said nothing seemed safe even if it was bolted down - pumping systems, seats, ballcocks and even whole toilet cisterns and hand-basins have disappeared.
The situation has forced Mr Brown to appeal for public help to "dob in" offenders he described as a "brainless minority".
"Graffiti attacks on public toilet facilities are costing around $5000 a month, without taking into account the cost of repairing toilet systems as a result of other forms of deliberate damage. "Excluding graffiti, we spent $12,000 in January and February alone cleaning up and making repairs to public toilets as a result of a mind-boggling array of acts of vandalism and theft."
He said repairs resulting from vandalism and theft cost ratepayers more than $300,000 a year.
Add to that up to $200,000 more for road signs.
Whangarei District Council spends about $500,000 annually repairing and replacing damaged property and cleaning up graffiti.
Parks manager Paul McDonald said $10,400 was spent a month removing graffiti alone.
Nearly $3000 has been spent this month at Lake Waro in Hikurangi where the main gates, fences, rock barriers and picnic tables have been damaged.
Signs and billboards at Sandy Bay have also been stolen.
Mr McDonald said the estimated cost of vandalism at Maungatapere Hall and Lookout Hill, lock and gate damage at Blacksmith's Creek, two picnic tables at Marsden Bay and turf damage at Twin Bridges, was $900.
A further $1928 was spent fixing practice nets at Cobham Oval, and litter and clean-up work at Otangarei.
Highly offensive tagging was removed from infrastructure and trees at AH Reed and Whangarei Falls at a cost of $1100.
While figures from Kaipara District Council were not available, Cr Bill Guest said vandalism was very low because people had pride in their amenities.
Northland Regional Council operations director Tony Phipps said vandalism to its property was mostly confined to navigation aids, which had since been substituted with high-technology models.
• Vandalism can be reported in confidence to local police or directly to the FNDC in Far North on 0800 920 029.