Bashing not gang problem

POLICE and welfare organisations have played down fears that the weekend bashing and robbery of two Banora Point teenagers was related to gang crime in the area.

Two boys, aged 15 and 16, were walking home at 2am on Sunday through Flame Tree Park Estate when a gang of five jumped them.

Police said the gang bashed the boys and then took off with their backpacks and some of their clothes.

The boys sustained minor injuries in the attack.

Police had few leads yesterday and were appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

Inspector Ross Wilkinson said the offenders were males in their mid- to late-teens.

Banora Point Residents Association president John Murray yesterday hit out at the attack and said the suburb needed more community-based policing to cut back on youth crime.

"It is a problem. There is still that wild element of kids out there that are into vandalism," he said.

"In the Covent Gardens, Woodlands Drive way, people are very concerned about the teen gangs operating in that area. They make a wide arc around Banora Point late at night.

"There are a few ladies who have been frightened because the youths stand in front of their homes and bombard them with rocks."

Mr Murray said he had seen a gang of a dozen 12- to 14-year-olds vandalising homes in the west Banora Point area himself.

"I wouldn't say Banora Point is the worst area for it though, but that part of Banora Point is a concern," he said.

"We urgently need to get back to what we used to have.

"I am not criticising the police, they are out there doing their job, but the community needs to get closer to the police again. "The community provides the bulk of information about crime to police. They should be aware of what happened the other night and play more of a role."

Tweed Police crime prevention officer Stuart Crawford said the Sunday attack was out of character for the area.

Flame Tree Park Neighbourhood Watch area co-ordinator Ngaire Harman agreed and said any youth problems in the area were relatively minor.

"I wouldn't say it is huge but there are certainly issues," she said.

"There is sometimes some malicious damage and kids drinking in the parks, but it is just boredom. We have some wonderful kids here that always say 'hello'."

Local youth service provider, the Salvation Army Centre, reported few issues with youths in the Woodlands Drive area.

"They do skateboard outside and we did used to have trouble with vandalism, but once we let them skate it stopped," the spokesperson said.

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