Vandals beseige gym club



BORED kids with "nothing better to do" are roaming Gympie's streets, leaving behind a trail of property damage for a few minutes of destructive "fun", say angry residents.

One particular area of town has copped more than its fare share, with repeated acts of vandalism costing organisations hundreds of dollars in repairs and prevention methods.

Gympie Gymnastic Club head coach Elissa Lyon says the not-for-profit club now has a running tab with Gympie Glazing Works after five break-ins this year.

"This year has been particularly severe we've had to bar up all the windows to try and deter the vandals because we just can't afford to keep replacing the glass," Ms Lyon said yesterday.

The location of the gym back off the road presents a prime opportunity for kids to try and break in.

"Thanks to the security alarm they've never stolen anything, but cleaning up broken glass is time consuming and very costly," she said.

"We have children here with no shoes on so it's important that every tiny fragment of glass is removed before we can let them in. It takes hours to clean up, especially when the shattered glass gets in the mats."

Underage drinking, egging houses, smashing windows and driving cars at high speeds through the streets are just some of the nuisance behaviour being endured in Gympie's eastern suburbs.

Michael Harch from Gympie Glazing says he has been getting a "fair bit of work" at that end of town.

"That area tends to get raided quite a bit," he said. "We've replaced windows at the Scout Hall and Gympie High has been copping quite a few broken windows lately.

"The Gymnastics Club gets hit pretty badly they called us out twice in a couple of days just recently. Actually, we've been over that way more times in the last few months than we have all year."

The last lot of youths to break in to the Gymnastics Club were caught when the security alarm sounded and a mobile phone was left behind.

"The police were unable able to do anything before this we were lucky this time," Ms Lyon said.

And so were the culprits they were let off with a warning, Detective Sergeant Dion Southy said.

"Two youths were picked up after a break-in was reported at the Gymnastics Club. No charges were laid on the provision that they return to the club to clean up the mess they made," he said.

Joseph Ghisoni, who lives near the Gymnastics Club, has noticed groups of three or four youths hanging around but says it can't be the same lot doing it all the time.

"I look after the scouting complex and I often catch groups of kids trying to kick the doors in or just sitting around with nothing better to.

"I stopped a group of them from stealing my neighbour's solar lights out of his front yard. I took a photo of them it didn't turn out, but the flash scared them away. There's a lot of under-age drinking going on and it gets worse in the school holidays," he said.