Auckland Council officers are investigating hoons who had to abandon a stationwagon that became stuck after taking it off-road around a public reserve last night.
The stationwagon's angry owner has blamed the illegal blat around the Meola Reef Reserve in Western Springs on some mates who he'd let use his car.
Late this afternoon, the council's local and sports parks central manager Mark Miller said the council was aware of the incident and took such matters seriously.
"We're investigating the misuse and will work with our bylaws team on this issue."
This morning, bemused walkers came across the Toyota Caldina still stuck in mud at the reserve, with a tyre iron and tow rope on the ground nearby.
On the dashboard was a scribbled note from the owner, reporting he was "arranging a tow" and giving his cellphone number.
One local resident who contacted the Herald said he was walking his dog when he came by the car at about 8.30am.
He noticed some steel fencing had been removed and muddy tyre tracks showed how the vehicle had driven well into the grass reserve, completed a loop, and became stuck just 100m from the entrance on its way back.
"The guys have gone in there, ripped up the grass reserve and then got stuck trying to get out," said the walker, who asked not to be named.
"They've done a complete loop, they've tried to get back to some hard road, and then they've been dug in."
Judging by the tyre tracks, the vehicle had nearly became stuck in several other places around the reserve, which would have been wet and muddy in places.
"They were in trouble the minute they got on to the park," he said.
"Just the stupidity of it, and the fact he's got caught ... God punishes people, it just takes time."
When the Herald contacted the owner, TJ, he said some friends had taken his car and phoned him after they got stuck.
"They weren't doing doughnuts, I think they just drove up there and they told me they got it stuck ... and I was pretty pissed off with them," he said.
"They had my permission to use my car but they didn't have permission to get it stuck in a place where they weren't allowed to take it."
Asked if he would report them to authorities if he had to, he replied: "I'll talk to them about it because I'm pissed off, but it depends what the consequences would be."
A charge of wilful damage carries a maximum penalty of three months' imprisonment or a $2000 fine.
The incident comes after council recently urged residents and sport clubs to be "extra vigilant" of hoons and vandals who had left a trail of destruction through parks and reserves, causing damage to eight parks around the city in the space of just two weeks over June.
The walker said Meola Reef Reserve, which had no lighting, was notorious for suspicious activity.
"There's constantly crap going on there at that reserve - there are cars being broken into, there are drug deals going on, there are condoms being found there - and I've already had to call the police on other occasions."