Riccarton retailer driven out by youths
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.