YOUTH GANGS RUN RIOT

RES­I­DENTS LIVE IN FEAR AS STREET BE­COMES HOT SPOT FOR DRUGS, CRIME

Sunday Territorian - - FRONT PAGE - By ZACH HOPE

YOUNG chil­dren are re­port­edly do­ing drugs and ter­ror­is­ing peo­ple at night on a Palmer­ston street — at­tack­ing houses, cars and late-night passers-by.

Craig Var­ney, 45, said the gang of teens and chil­dren — some as young as seven — swelled to as many as 20 dur­ing hol­i­days, and openly sniffed glue and smoked bongs on Emery Ave, Gray, without fear of pun­ish­ment.

He said he had been as­saulted by one of their un­cles and wit­nessed the mob at­tack a drunk man with stones and sticks last week.

‘‘ It’s all a big game to them,’’ he said.

‘‘The po­lice re­spond pretty quickly, but (the kids) are wait­ing for them — they’re wait­ing for the chase. They just get a slap on the wrist.

‘‘ An hour later you see them back out at it again.

‘‘ The po­lice know these kids, but it’s just what they’re able to do.’’

Mr Var­ney said nearby Govern­ment units — which housed el­derly and dis­abled peo­ple — were reg­u­larly pelted with rocks.

He does not live on the street, but his chil­dren, aged 10 and 11, do, and he stays with them reg­u­larly to pro­tect them.

The frus­trated fa­ther ap­proached the Sun­day Ter­ri­to­rian in the hope that in­creased re­port­ing of the of­fences would one day lead to the pol-

The more pub­lic back­ing — and the less peo­ple turn a blind eye — the more we can look

se­ri­ously at cur­fews

ice gain­ing more pow­ers to deal with rogue youths.

‘‘The more pub­lic back­ing — and the less peo­ple turn a blind eye — the more we can look se­ri­ously at cur­fews and ( other con­trol mea­sures),’’ he said.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Matt Hol­lamby said po­lice were are aware of the kids Mr Var­ney re­ferred to.

‘‘When crimes are iden­ti­fied, NT Po­lice in­ves­ti­gate and, where pos­si­ble, pros­e­cute youths who com­mit them,’’ he said.

Mr Var­ney is not the only per­son to con­tact the Sun­day Ter­ri­to­rian about out- of­con­trol chil­dren in Palmer­ston. Amother said a teenage girl as­saulted her 16-year-old daugh­ter in broad day­light at Palmer­ston Shop­ping Cen­tre on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

The al­leged vic­tim was res­cued by nearby mem­bers of the pub­lic.

‘‘What we see and hear, it’s just dis­gust­ing,’’ her mother said.

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