An elderly Tamatea couple and others who live on their street are feeling so intimidated by youths roaming around and stealing things in their neighbourhood they are thinking of selling their house and moving.

Their fear of retribution for speaking out is such that they do not want themselves or the street they live on to be identified, but at their wits end they wanted their story to be told.

The pair have lived in their property for 27 years, and the problems started two years ago when some new people moved in, the woman spoken to by Hawke's Bay Today said.

"Since then we've had burglaries, people have been intimidated and they have been getting more brazen as time has gone on."


The behaviour had included getting up on people's roofs to look down on back gardens, wandering the street waving bits of wood around and smashing car windows, roaming the street in the middle of the night and fighting, and banging on people's windows at night.

She estimated the youths were aged in their early to middle teens and said the situation was such that two people had already sold up and left the neighbourhood.

At her house, she said she suspected they entered through the front door one day while her husband was in the garden out the back and took the house keys and some cash.

In order to feel safer, she said they had changed the locks on the door, put a new security light out the back of the property and put a camera up on the front of the house.

The police had been helping them out as much as they could, she said.

"I feel sorry for the police - they have not got enough resources and these kids know that - they think they can do what they like."

Although the area had a strong neighbourhood watch group, she said even going to meetings made them nervous in case they were being observed.

Napier Labour MP and police spokesman Stuart Nash attended one of these meetings and said the situation was dreadful and highlighted the need for more police officers in the region, both for community policing and fighting organised crime.

"In this situation the community constable has been fantastic and has been doing whatever he can but he hasn't got the time to do what's needed.

"If there was an unlimited resource they could park outside till they caught them but they do not have those resources."

He said this was a classic case of everybody being let down by society, both the perpetrators, their families and the victims.

"If the education system was working those kids would be at school, if social welfare was working they would have helped the parents, and then there is the police resourcing issue - everybody has been let down."