A violent group of youths, some believed to be as young as 10, is terrorising residents and business operators in the city's west.
The children have verbally abused residents and retailers, destroyed security lighting, shop fixtures and furniture and over the past week have cost Club Maitland City an estimated $15,000 in property damage and stolen alcohol.
The latest attack was in the early hours of Monday morning where masked offenders jemmied a door to the club, gained entry to the cellar and fled with top shelf spirits and wine.
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The club has been hard hit with its two motels also targeted, patrons' cars broken into and pool furniture thrown into motel swimming pools.
The latest crime spree began on Australia Day around midnight when the Maitland City Motel manager was called to the motel's pool.
The manager asked a group of seven youths to move on but according to Club Maitland City Finance and Operations Manager, Mel McInnes, things turned violent and pool furniture was hurled at the manager.
We estimate that we have lost about $5000 in alcohol aloneClub Maitland City Finance and Operations Manager Meleah McInnes.
On Friday, January 31 about 5.30am two youths entered the club's cellar and took two large cartons of alcohol.
Between Saturday, February 1 and the early hours of Sunday, February 2 police were called when offenders were ripping apart lighting and security cameras around the motel's pool.
"They were disturbing guests and broke into a guest's car by smashing a window," Ms McInnes said.
"Over that weekend there were also multiple entries into the cellar - about 11 kids in total entering three at a time and spending up to five minutes at a time taking alcohol," she said.
"We estimate that we have lost about $5000 in alcohol alone."
Port Stephens-Hunter police have sourced CCTV footage of the incidents and identified several persons of interest. Investigations are ongoing.
"Police are currently following up and have also been proactive with the Police Transport Unit patrolling buses and general duties officers visiting the shopping centre and skate park," Port Stephens Hunter Inspector Rob Post said.
Other businesses have also been targeted over recent months - including Rutherford Community Centre which has been broken into twice over the past four weeks.
The Mercury reported in December how five businesses at Rutherford Shopping Centre had their front windows smashed.
Ms McInnes said she has been working in the Rutherford area for almost 11 years and said this is the worst she has seen "violence, stealing and mindless vandalism".
"A few weeks ago at the club's other motel the Old Maitland Inn, two kids walked up and started smashing things, including trying to destroy the self service terminal.
"Our main concern is for our staff and their safety. If a staff member had walked into the club's cellar the other morning I hate to think what could have happened when 11 kids had stormed the building. Even though they're only kids 11 against one is not good," she said.
"People are becoming sick and tired of this. It's costing businesses a fortune and staff are in fear. We've had two motel staff members leave already and others are almost ready to walk."
Rutherford resident, West Ward councillor and club president Henry Meskauskas said he was deeply concerned with the events.
"I've viewed the latest CCTV footage from the club and it's very disturbing. What disturbs me more is that these kids get picked up by police, put before a magistrate, sent to a juvenile facility for a few days and come home wearing that like a badge of honour and go back committing offences," he said.
"They want to cause chaos, make threats, vandalise property - they want to see people frightened and people are frightened," Cr Meskauskas said.
"I hope it doesn't get to the point where residents start to take things into their own hands - that's when someone will get hurt.
"Most of these kids are in their early teens, both male and female. Where are their parents? What are they up to?
"This isn't just isolated to Rutherford - it's across the city and it's about time our neighbourhoods were safe and secure," Cr Meskauskas said.