Water balloons and rocks have been pelted at vehicles in a spate of malicious attacks that have caused widespread concern and even prompted a local bus company to temporarily divert its route.
Residents have told The Mercury of the “appalling” behaviour that has occurred over recent weeks around the Rutherford Skatepark area.
One person said they even saw darts being thrown at vehicles.
Hunter Valley Buses, which is run by CDCNSW, decided to temporarily pull its service out of the Hillview Street bus stop from last Sunday, after suffering damage from rocks thrown.
CDCNSW Hunter regional manager Andrew Fogg said the decision was made to protect the safety of the passengers and the buses.
The company is working with police on the matter. The Hillview Street service will return to normal next week.
Police are aware of the problem and have spoken to three youths aged under 12 in relation to the water balloon incidents. They have been issued warnings under the Youth Offenders Act.
Rutherford resident Jeff Dunn said along with the rocks and water balloon incidents, he had also heard reports of people being attacked and windows being smashed.
He said the incidents had made him cautious of where he walked at certain times – choosing to stick to well-lit areas and around shopping centres where there is security.
“This is disgusting that we the public find that some public areas are now dangerous,” he said. “It’s awful. You want to know you can walk around without being accosted or attacked.”
West ward councillor Henry Meskauskas, who helped establish the Aberglasslyn/Rutherford Neighbourhood Watch, said he heard about the incidents in the past week.
“It’s very disturbing, very disappointing,” he said. “It’s a handful of hooligans performing these deeds, causing a lot of heartache and a lot of damage.
“They’ve got no respect. There is no monetary benefit, it’s just malicious damage.”
Police have introduced various initiatives, including high visibility police patrolling the area on foot and on bikes, and use resources such as CCTV and car registrations to apprehend offenders.
“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated, the community won’t stand for it,” Central Hunter acting crime manager Mitch Dubojski said.