Black mar­ket for speak­ers

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - ELESHA ED­MONDS AND TOM CARNEGIE

School and train sta­tion sirens have be­come a hot ticket item in an emerg­ing black mar­ket, leav­ing com­mu­ni­ties in dan­ger.

Scores of loud­speak­ers and fire alarms have also been stolen from com­mu­nity cen­tres and petrol sta­tions around cen­tral Auck­land to be used in ‘‘bat­tles’’.

The mo­bile sound sys­tems are strapped to han­dle­bars of bikes and used in com­pe­ti­tions where the one with the loud­est mu­sic is crowned ‘‘Siren King’’.

A Face­book page with nearly 3000 mem­bers has been set up to trade and sell the heavy-duty speak­ers. There have been 1127 sale posts since the page was cre­ated a year ago.

Among the sale posts are dis­cus­sions about where the sirens have been stolen from. ’’Who would buy two 15W [sirens] if I stole some…’’ posted one user.

An­other mem­ber claimed to have a siren and fire alarm from a train sta­tion which they’re ‘‘keen to swap for a phone or of­fers’’. Other posts in­clude or­ders for spe­cific sirens which are usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied with pho­tos of wads of cash.

An in­dus­try in­sider says 90 per cent of the sirens listed on the Face­book page look stolen.

‘‘Some of them are quite ex­pen­sive pieces of equip­ment. There are speak­ers on there that have com­pli­cated wiring and are the kind of thing you would usu­ally see on top of a lamp post at the cor­ner of a rugby field.’’

The source says there has been a huge in­flux of siren sales through­out Auck­land over the last 12 months.

‘‘Most are af­ter a spe­cific siren that is compact and can be eas­ily fixed to a bike or ve­hi­cle.’’

The sirens can eas­ily be mod­i­fied to run off a cell phone or through an am­pli­fier hooked up to a car bat­tery.

In­spec­tor Steve Sa­muels says the po­lice have re­ceived about 70 calls con­cern­ing ex­ces­sive noise com­ing from speak­ers at­tached to bikes. He says po­lice can con­fis­cate the speak­ers when they look like they’ve been stolen and keep them un­til the owner can prove they le­gally pur­chased them.

How­ever many youths aware of their tac­tics.

‘‘We had a boy who pur­chased a speaker le­git­i­mately but then pho­to­copied the re­ceipt for all his mates. They are keep­ing us on our toes at all times.’’ are

A teenage craze has es­ca­lated into a fully-fledged sub­cul­ture with its own black mar­ket and com­pe­ti­tions. Mean­while schools and com­mu­nity cen­tres are hav­ing to cover the bill.

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