SOCIAL PROBLEM: Tin Can Bay resident George Parkyn is concerned about youth crime with the recent vandalism of the local hall and petty theft.
SOCIAL PROBLEM: Tin Can Bay resident George Parkyn is concerned about youth crime with the recent vandalism of the local hall and petty theft. Patrick Woods

Schoolkids wreak havoc at Tin Can Bay

A GROUP of schoolchildren is terrorising the Tin Can Bay community, and one Tin Can Bay resident wants law courts to get serious on underage offenders.

Cooloola Cove Veterans and Community Hall manager and treasurer George Parkyn said about 10 children aged 10-14 years old had started causing trouble in the past year, with some stealing and damaging property.

"Last year we were vandalised about three times," Mr Parkyn said.

"In the last couple of weeks they've tried to break into our garden shed, and those three kids have been caught and will go to court very shortly.

"Then on the Sunday night, one of our windows into the disabled toilet was broken, and then on Monday night the yoga class was terrorised, with these kids running up and down and thumping on the doors, yelling out violent language."

He said the children had been causing havoc elsewhere, with goods stolen from the Woolworths loading dock.

"Once again those kids were caught from the CCTV, and the parents had to pay the money back to Woolworths," he said.

He said two of those children were among those attempting to break into the garden shed.

Mr Parkyn voiced his frustration over courts serving slap-on-the-wrist sentences and withholding the names of underage offenders.

"Why should juveniles who do crime be protected?" he said.

He said underage offenders should be sentenced to do community work, fixing the damage they had done.

He said some parents were also failing to provide discipline, but not all parents were to blame.

"I met one of the parents, and she's a real lovely lady. She tries to look after her kid, but he's mixed up in the wrong crowd," he said.

"I think there needs to be something to help the parents."

He said Tin Can Bay youth needed more activities available to divert them from mischief, but youth engagement had been improving with the Cooloola Coast Youth Activity Project and council support.

Division 1 councillor Mark McDonald said he was "extremely concerned" that the area's youth crime could evolve as the young offenders grew older.

He said efforts by council and the community to engage youth had been met with mixed results.

"I'm confident that we can do really good things with these kids, but they really have to start giving back too," Cr McDonald said.

"It's very deflating for people who work hard for them to then see this continued behaviour."

He said there was plenty for young people to do in the region, and council had also had plans to build a skate park on the Cooloola Coast.

"We've got a social problem that's really hard to fix."

He believes the behaviour stems from a mixture of family breakdowns, alcohol, drugs and boredom.

"We need mentoring programs where we can get good people here to tell these kids that there are ladders to climb and you have the capacity to do it.

"I've said that from day one."