Police are investigating after 11 vehicles were broken into overnight at a popular makeshift car yard in Rotorua.

Locals regularly park at a Rotorua Lakes Council reserve on Te Ngae Rd, colloquially known as Sewers Motors or Rangi's Car Yard/Lot, leave their cars there and wait for calls from buyers.

But a police spokeswoman said officers found 11 cars damaged overnight on Saturday, with broken windows and beaten up panels. Two of the vehicles are missing plates, she said.

"Inquiries are ongoing to locate the offender/offenders."

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Two cars with broken quarter light windows were still in the lot today, and broken glass could be seen strewn across the gravel.

A police sign at the carpark recommends vehicles are not parked there overnight. It recommends using an immobiliser of steering wheel lock if you have one and not leaving any items visible on the seats or floor.

Private sellers to sell cars, campervans, buses, motorbikes and boats at the yard.

In 2015 Rotorua Lakes Council's then compliance solutions manager, Neven Hill told the Rotorua Daily Post the lot's history went back many years.

One of the cars with a broken quarterlight window.
One of the cars with a broken quarterlight window.

He said the council and NZ Transport Agency got together to try to find a solution to the growing problem of cars for private sale being parked along busy main roads around the city.

"A number of crashes and near misses had given rise to concerns about community safety and the potential for a more serious accident," Hill said at the time.

Glass at the car yard the next day.
Glass at the car yard the next day.

"The practical solution identified was to make available the area of land alongside Te Ngae Rd, which continues to be used today for this purpose. The site provides the required high visibility for people wanting to sell their vehicles and, more importantly, it offers a relatively safe off-road area for people to drive in, park and inspect cars for sale."

The car yard is popular for selling cars, boats, trailers and more.
The car yard is popular for selling cars, boats, trailers and more.