ZB

Graveyard burnouts: Police arrest 19 yo over cemetery vandalism

Author
Akula Sharma, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Aug 2022, 1:44pm
Waipā Mayor calls the culprits, "scumbags" says he is "utterly appalled - beyond disgusted - by what's happened". Photo / Waipā District Council
Waipā Mayor calls the culprits, "scumbags" says he is "utterly appalled - beyond disgusted - by what's happened". Photo / Waipā District Council

Graveyard burnouts: Police arrest 19 yo over cemetery vandalism

Author
Akula Sharma, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Aug 2022, 1:44pm

A teenager is facing charges and has had his car impounded after allegedly doing burnouts in a graveyard and driving over freshly dug plots.

Cambridge Police Sergeant Ben Joll said a 19-year-old local man had been charged with intentional damage for the incident at Hautapu cemetery.

He was also charged with sustained loss of traction in relation to a subsequent incident on a public road. His car had also been impounded.

Lawns at the community graveyard were left torn up by wheel marks and freshly dug plots were run over, leaving locals appalled.

"Our officers in Cambridge recognised how upsetting the damage to the cemetery was for our local community," Joll said.

"They worked really hard to quickly identify and hold accountable the person responsible, and would like to thank those members of the public who provided information which assisted."

The teenager will appear in Hamilton District Court on Friday.

Waipā District Council has started repairs at Hautapu cemetery but says it will take months to get it back in shape.

The council said it estimated $3000 as the cost of the damage which would come out of its general maintenance budget.

Community services manager Brad Ward said he expected it would take months to repair the damage, given the colder winter months.

News of the damage at the cemetery had reached local contractors and suppliers, including Cambridge-based PGG Wrightson Turf and Parklands Turf Ltd, who offered to supply free grass seed and fertiliser and sow the seed, Ward said.

"We've had a huge response from the community. It's obvious people are generally sickened by what's happened.

"To have two companies reach out to us quickly, offering their products and services speaks volumes."

Ward said the focus was on getting the cemetery back up to scratch as soon as possible.

"These are precious, sacred areas that are valued by our community, and we won't have them ruined by idiots."

Yesterday, Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest called the vandals, "scumbags" and said he was "utterly appalled – beyond disgusted – by what's happened.

"We will be working alongside police and doing all we can to find out who was responsible. And when we do, I hope they throw the book at them. As far as I'm concerned, they are scumbags."

RSA district president James Hill had said the RSA was "extremely disappointed by the disrespectful act" that also damaged parts of the Hautapu Services Cemetery.

"It is shameful that the resting places of our service people and loved ones are treated in this way," Hill said.