YOUTHS are breaking into one of the state’s biggest police complexes to steal cannabis from an evidence storage area.
The Advertiser has been told that local youths were caught twice last weekend as they desperately swept up the remnants of drug seizures at Christies Beach police complex.
One youth was understood to have been caught in the back of a police ute literally collecting a pile of cannabis, while others have been gathering their stash from the ground around fenced-off industrial storage bins.
“It is ridiculous,” said one South Coast police officer, who would not be identified. “It’s happening every week. They’re (youths) just laughing at us and we’re not going to do anything about it,” the officer said.
The compound, believed to hold impounded cars at times, as well as the drugs and other seized items, is barely distinguishable from the adjacent building site.
The Advertiser has been told youths are simply cutting their way through the mesh fence into the supposedly secure area.
The area is not under camera surveillance and police officers patrol on foot “when they can” at the busy station.
No marked police cars have been damaged, but officers fear that may be only a matter of time.
Their own cars parked at the station have been targeted by vandals.
As part of a major upgrade to the complex, patrol cars will eventually be parked where the temporary compound is, 300m from the station.
The compound area, facing Blythe St, is blocked from the station by a corrugated iron fence, a road and a mesh fence, and runs behind the Beach Rd/Dyson Rd complex.
“It can’t be seen from the station,” the officer said.
Police have previously voiced concerns to The Advertiser regarding accessing patrol cars in an emergency.
“It’s 300m away. You imagine how much time is wasted in an emergency if you have to run out the station, across the road to the car,” one officer said. “What if you forget something, have to run back inside, then back to the car?”
Superintendent Steve Ryan, officer in charge of the South Coast Local Service Area, said the evidence storage area was a temporary measure and that police were constantly upgrading security.
“We are conducting multi-million-dollar building works and a temporary compound has been established during building stages,” Supt Ryan said.
He confirmed that several people had been arrested “two or three times” and said that buildings were “thoroughly alarmed”.
“As soon as we can, all our property will be back inside the new building,” he said. He dismissed concerns about the patrol car storage area, saying “first-response patrol cars will be in close proximity to the (complex)”.
By SAM RODRIGUES