Ric­car­ton re­tailer driven out by youths

Christchurch Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ANNA PRICE

At least one Ric­car­ton re­tailer is quit­ting the area amid in­tim­i­da­tion by youths run­ning amok in the troubled Divi­sion St/Ric­car­ton Bus Ex­change area.

The Art of Sewing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor San­dra Arnott con­firmed this week she would not re­new her lease which ex­pires May 1 and was re­lo­cat­ing else­where fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent that forced a lock­down. Cus­tomers would be in­formed per­son­ally by fly­ers for se­cu­rity.

Last month’s in­ci­dent erupted when Arnott took pho­tos of five youths tag­ging the Farm­ers’ build­ing.

‘‘They took um­brage and started boot­ing the door and spit­ting at the win­dows. I had four cus­tomers.

‘‘Po­lice ar­rived an hour and a half later. We had to re­duce our hours as a di­rect re­sult,’’ she said. ‘‘I’ve had enough.’’

Last week po­lice were called as one ju­ve­nile, barely 13, stalked the streets swing­ing a base­ball bat then con­ceal­ing it down his shorts.

One man­ager re­ported youths hang­ing around their frontage, spit­ting and swear­ing. ‘‘We’ve had enough of food and smears on our win­dows along with the tag­ging. Younger girls are the most foul­mouthed. They’re are not all bad but seem to get in with a bad core.’’

Hornby Po­lice com­mu­nity ser­vices man­ager Dan Harker said nu­mer­ous op­er­a­tions had been car­ried out. ‘‘We are very aware crime has in­creased since the bus ex­change was built. It is a meet­ing ground for a lot of lo­cal youths and with that comes petty of­fend­ing and other of­fences. We do re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately if needed.’’

Hal­swell Hornby Wi­gram Com­mu­nity Board deputy chair He­len Broughton said the board may have to re­quest tar­geted polic­ing to cover trou­ble pe­ri­ods such as between 5 and 9pm. She un­der­stood from po­lice ev­i­dence at a Liquor Li­cens­ing Hear­ing last week that a new hard-core el­e­ment had en­tered the scene un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol and drugs.

Coun­cil­lor Vicki Buck con­firmed she was work­ing with po­lice, look­ing at de­sign op­tions and redi­rect­ing calls from Christchurch Cen­tral Po­lice to Hornby.

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