Motorists should think twice before parking on a roadside near Dunedin Airport because people are deliberately pushing vehicles into ditches, a traveller warns.

Sheridan Whitelock, 22, said she parked her red 1989 Mitsubishi Mirage near a ditch in Miller Rd before catching a flight at Dunedin Airport at 6.30am on Friday. She parked there to avoid paying airport parking fees.

The airport charges a flat rate of $72 for between 3.5 days and a week. When she returned to Dunedin on Monday she discovered her damaged car resting on its side in the ditch.

"Out of shock, I laughed. I was like, you're kidding, the one time I park here and this happens."


Whitelock assumed the car had slipped after heavy rain but the tow truck driver who salvaged the car, Mosgiel Towing & Mechanical owner Tony Fox, told her it appeared to have been pushed into the ditch.

Nearly six months ago, he salvaged another car from a ditch on the other side of Miller Rd.

"When you've towed a couple out of there you put two-and-two together and you start thinking people are pushing these in."

Miss Whitelock had third-party insurance so the damage to her car could not be fixed under her policy. The car cost about $230 to salvage and was still driveable. Miss Whitelock said had she known a similar incident had occurred, she would not have parked there.

Sheridan Whitelock with her Mitsubishi Mirage which was damaged when it was pushed into a ditch in Momona. Photo / Gregor Richardson
Sheridan Whitelock with her Mitsubishi Mirage which was damaged when it was pushed into a ditch in Momona. Photo / Gregor Richardson

She had tried to report the incident at the Port Chalmers police station about 1.30pm on Wednesday but nobody responded when she rang the bell at the desk.

A police spokeswoman did not reply to a question about the lack of police presence.

Sgt Kevin Davidson, of Mosgiel, said he was unaware of any vehicles ending up in the ditch in Miller Rd. Vehicles parked in Miller Rd had not been reported as a safety issue, he said.

"As long as the roadway is clear and it's not obstructing the intersection or impinging on the motorists' use of the road, then we have no issue with it."

If a complaint was made, police would investigate, Sgt Davidson said.

Jerrald Mathias, of Momona, said residents were concerned about people parking in Miller Rd.

The parked cars were often partially on the road, making it narrower and effectively a one-lane road when heavy traffic used it.

"It's causing a problem."

A dead possum was placed on a parked car about six months ago and road cones had been put beside vehicles encroaching on the road.

"Someone was pretty peeved off."

A Dunedin City Council spokeswoman said there were no parking restrictions in place on the stretch of road and if people had concerns about safety, they could contact the council.