You are currently viewing Residents wake to speeding, skidding
The incidents have taken place on February 26, March 12, and March 19, and again on April 1 and 2 down main streets of Thames. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Residents wake to speeding, skidding

Thames is being woken up and the alarm is set sporadically: 2.30am, 3.30am, 4.30am, 5.30am.
These are the times drivers have been accelerating down the town’s main streets, revving their engines and skidding their tyres across the tarseal.
It’s an issue law-abiding citizens of Thames shouldn’t have to put up with, the local MP has said, but the behaviour is part of a New Zealand-wide problem that preys on a good nights’ sleep.
“It’s not something you expect to happen because you’re asleep, for starters, and because it’s Thames and maybe I’m being a bit naive,” Mal Hargreaves said. “There have been some previous episodes but none as sporadic as this.”
Mal owns a property overlooking MacKay Street and he and his neighbours are being subjected to early wake-ups by drivers revving their car engines, doing burn-outs, and speeding.
The incidents have taken place on February 26, March 12, and March 19, and again on April 1 and 2.

“I think they’re doing it for their own kicks and entertainment, but [they need to] have a bit of consideration for their neighbours, their family, and their community. Thames has a high propensity of older people and [the drivers] are ripping up and down the road outside the hospital where people are trying to recover,” he said.
“From our point of view, yes it’s okay to have fun, but maybe be a bit more considerate.”
Mal has contacted community members such as Thames-Coromandel Mayor Len Salt, Thames Community Board chair Adrian Catran, Coromandel MP Scott Simpson, and the local police.
He said while he understood there was no easy fix for the problem, an increased police presence and additional traffic-calming measures on key Thames streets – such as MacKay, Queen, and Rolleston – could put some heat on the perpetrators.
He’s concerned about what could happen if residents intervene or are impacted by the potentially-dangerous high speeds if nothing else gets done.
“What if someone tries to take a photo, or decides to have words with them, or [the driver] loses control of their vehicle? I don’t mind people with high-powered cars – we’ve got one, but we wouldn’t hoon down any of those streets at that time of the morning.”
Coromandel MP Scott Simpson said Mal’s concerns were valid.
“All of those issues are real issues for law-abiding citizens in Thames, and the potential for the matters to get out of hand is real and present,” he told The Profile.
“Citizens shouldn’t have to put up with this kind of nonsense, and like Mal, I’m worried about the potential of people taking the situation into their own hands and for that to escalate.”
Mr Simpson, who lives in Thames, said he’d also had nights of disturbed sleep caused by the loud burn-outs occurring “in the wee hours of the morning”.
“It’s become increasingly common in the township of Thames, and I’m pleased that Mal has decided to raise it as a local issue.
“Sadly, it’s just a symptom of a much wider level of criminality and lawlessness that is occurring throughout the country,” he said. “Thames is not immune and Thames is not the only community where this is a problem.”
Thames Police confirmed to The Profile that first and second-time offenders who operate a motor vehicle causing a sustained loss of traction face maximum imprisonment of three months, a maximum fine of $4500, and a minimum disqualification from driving of six months.
DETAILS: Report any bad driving behaviour to the Police by using the NZ Police online report to make a non-emergency report, or by calling 105. If you are observing the driving and feel it requires police attendance please call 111.