Hoons hit camping spots in Tasmania

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While the Christmas holidays aren’t generally the most peaceful time to go camping, they aren’t supposed to be a living nightmare either.

But grey nomads and others are being warned that if too many police and park rangers are withdrawn from popular Tasmanian holiday spots anarchy will soon rule.

Tasman Mayor Jan Barwick has told the state government that the sole policeman and sole park ranger on the peninsula in Tassie’s south-east had no hope of stopping hoons and yobbos. She said troublemakers’ actions at camping areas had become increasingly extreme.

The mayor said six weeks ago “mongrels” had raided the Lime Bay camping ground, north of Saltwater River. Cr Barwick said the youths chainsawed 18 trees and blew up several campers’ tents by throwing in butane gas cannister and sparkler “cocktails”.

“There have been a number of incidents,” she said. “By the time the police get there the hoons have gone.”

Cr Barwick told the Mercury newspaper she wasn’t aware of any serious problems at the peninsula’s Fortescue Bay camping ground, which had a caretaker’s residence.

She said the Tasman Council had asked for extra police to watch over the district’s holiday population, which grew from about 2000 to 10,000.

Dover caravan park operator Albert Lamm told the Mercury that police and the councils had so far failed to deal with illegal campers, some of whom pitched tents and parked vans next to his premises.

He said illegal campers who pitched tents on prime foreshore between the beach and his caravan park expected to use his washrooms for free. Mr Lamm said one man, when asked for $5 to use the shower, got angry and slashed the cable on the hand dryer.

Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart said his council tolerated campervans and motor homes stopping next to public toilets and barbecue areas, provided they moved on the next day.

Tourist operators contacted by the Mercury at Arthur River, Gladstone, Tomahawk and along the East Coast all reported that camping areas in their districts were problem-free.

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