Australia Townsville teens' road rampage leaves police officer with spinal injuries amid 'astounding' spike in car thefts
Mundingburra MP Les Walker fined and banned from city centre over fight at Townsville nightclub
Mundingburra MP Les Walker, who was knocked unconscious at Townsville's Mad Cow nightclub after midnight on January 16, is fined and banned from the city's nightclub strip.Labor Mundingburra Labor MP Les Walker was knocked unconscious at Townsville's Mad Cow Tavern nightclub after midnight on January 16.
A group of youths who allegedly tried to ram police vehicles in a stolen four-wheel-drive during an hours-long road rampage in Townsville have been taken into custody.
The six children, aged between 17 and 12, allegedly ran amok on Saturday morning by driving on the wrong side of the road, running red lights and speeding — at one stage stopping to taunt officers at a police station.
The crash resulted in two police officers in a marked police vehicle suffering head, spinal and back injuries.
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The 14-year-old driver of the stolen Landcruiser allegedly evaded road spikes set up by police before crashing into a tree, while two police officers who lost control of their vehicle and hit a power pole were taken to hospital with head, back and spinal injuries.
The incident follows a high-profilein Brisbane's bayside, which led to murder charges against a repeat youth offender allegedly driving a stolen Landcruiser.
Criminologists have pointed to a surge in car theft in Queensland in recent years, bucking a national trend.
'Astounding' spike in vehicle theft
While vehicle theft in Australia has fallen 5 per cent from four years ago, it rose in Queensland by 48 per cent, according to figures released last month by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.
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Associate Professor in Criminology at Bond University Terry Goldsworthy said the recent explosion in car theft numbers needed to be addressed.
"It's just actually astounding when you look at the figures," he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
"We've got a problem with stolen cars in Queensland."
Superintendent Glen Pointing said seven children had stolen a silver Toyota Landcruiser Prado from a home in Kelso in Townsville's south at 5:20am.
He said witnesses reported the car speeding on the wrong side of the road, forcing other drivers to swerve out of harm's way.
"At one stage the vehicle was seen near the Kirwan police station. It appeared to be taunting the police," he said.
Superintendent Pointing said police planted tyre deflation devices but they failed to stop the stolen car.
"On two separate occasions over the next few hours that stolen vehicle drove towards a police vehicle, causing the police vehicle to have to take evasive action to avoid a collision," Superintendent Pointing said.
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The stolen car eventually crashed into a tree after swerving to avoid road spikes on Beck Drive at Condon.
A marked police car also lost control and struck a roadside power pole, leaving the male driver with head and spinal injuries and his female passenger with back injuries.
Both officers were treated at the scene and later taken to Townsville University Hospital.
Six of the youths — boys aged 14, 16 and 17 and girls aged 12, 13 and 15 — were arrested and taken to hospital for minor injuries.
Police said a number of the youth were known to police.
They said a seventh male youth fled the scene and has not yet been found.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said strong action will be taken against the offenders.
"We're outraged. Don't tell me that a 17-year-old doesn't know the difference between right and wrong — it's just unacceptable," Ms Hill said.
"These offenders need to be, especially at the age of 16 and 17, treated as young adults. These juveniles think because they are juvenile that the courts will be lenient with them.
"They're very lucky nobody was killed."
Ms Hill said many of the children's families were well known to police.
She said more needed to be done to support youth who were growing up in adversity.
"Frankly, there has to be a better way than putting these kids back in these homes where you have parents who just don't give a stuff."
UK dog theft on the rise amid pandemic pet demand .
Prices for puppies and older dogs have skyrocketed, attracting greedy breeders and the interest of criminals. Figures from Pets4Homes, an online marketplace for sales and adoptions, showed the average price asked in approximately 150,000 listings from March to September was 1,883 British pounds ($2,575). The average price during the same period the previous year was less than half that, at 888 British pounds ($1,214). Some puppies of popular breeds, such as spaniels, bulldogs, pugs and poodle crossbreeds, can be listed for more than 4,000 British pounds ($5,400).