‘Red zone ram raider’ still on the loose

CAUSING DAMAGE: Police and LINZ are unable to track down those causing damage in the red zone.

Police say they are unable to prosecute a motorist who has allegedly caused damage in the red zone because there is not enough evidence.

Avonside resident Patrick Boland went to police in October with photographs and video he took of a man he has dubbed the ‘red zone ram raider.’

Mr Boland gave police the vehicle’s registration number and said he had witnessed him driving erratically in his sport utility vehicle and damaging gates and barriers.

A police spokeswoman said the man has been issued with infringement notices, including driving without a licence and a warrant of fitness.

There was not enough evidence to support the claim he had been smashing barriers.

Said Mr Boland: “The method he uses is just driving straight through like Rambo. I would say that’s happened at least three times. At the moment he seems to be acting with impunity.

“As a community, all we are trying to do is keep ourselves safe,” he said.

Mr Boland’s video footage shows the man acting aggressively towards him, driving erratically and on the wrong side of the road, but he has been unable to film him in the act of driving through the barriers.

Currently, security within the red zone area is managed by Land Information New Zealand.

LINZ group manager land and property Jeremy Barr said it has discussed the damage with police, who patrol the wider red zone area.

“No action plans have been developed with the police because we have not been able to identify any vehicles causing the damage.”

“LINZ’s security guards are very aware of the vandalism, and patrol the problem areas to try to stop damage being done. They have not yet been able to identify any vehicles causing damage,” he said.

Last year, there were 25 occasions where LINZ carried out repairs to barriers, which cost about $4000.

“This comes from the maintenance budget. Funding is from the Canterbury recovery appropriation to maintain the residential red zone which comes from the Government,” said Mr Barr.

Some areas required more repairs than others.

Six repairs have been carried out in Avondale, five in Dallington, and four in Burwood and Bexley areas.