Dial-a-vandal

MANY Oxley Vale residents are living in fear of vandals who have damaged property, including badly burning a well-used public telephone booth.
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Some residents allege they saw who did the damage to the telephone booth on the corner of Manilla Rd and Kirkham Crescent, saying they were youths between 10 and 16 years of age.

“The telephone was so badly damaged that it can’t be used and it’s the only telephone box between here and Bi-Lo,” one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “There are a lot of people who use it as some people cannot afford the phone as they are pensioners.

“We live in fear as these juveniles damage houses and break windows and we’ve got to be locked up in our houses. We may as well be in jail while these criminals are running free.”

Other residents felt the same and would not be named for fear of retribution.

“The phone box is damaged often as the vandals keep going back until they really smashed it,” another resident said. “They have been doing a lot of vandalism and they think it’s funny. I rang the police and they came out, but there’s a whole lot of [vandals] out of control.”

Telstra have put barricades around the phone and some residents are worried it will be taken away, while others want it to go to put an end to the

vandalism.

“I wish they would get rid of it,” resident Darren Blatch said.

“If they got rid of it, they wouldn’t vandalise it.”

Mr Blatch claims the phone has been badly vandalised four times in the two years he has been living in Oxley Vale.

Other residents would also love to see the back of the phone booth and the associated problems.

“It’s a haven for hoodlums and it’s a great big, big mess. It’s absolutely disgusting,” resident Arline Dewson said.

“It wants shifting or just not have one out here as there are not that many people without phones or mobiles. People don’t deserve it if they keep damaging it.”

Resident Bill Tighe says the phone should stay. “Some people don’t have a phone and the public phone is put there for a purpose, it’s not there to be vandalised,” he said.

“I see a lot of people use it and it’s ridiculous the way they vandalise it all the time.”

Telstra said the company did not plan to remove the phone box.

“We’ve identified the issues and the phone box will be replaced or repaired within the next few weeks,” Telstra corporate affairs manager Michael Patterson said.

“We understand it is the only public phone in Oxley Vale and it’s important to the community and we’re determined to keep the service going.”

Vandalism is a costly issue for Telstra and Mr Patterson said repairing damage to public phones costs Telstra five times as much as they take in revenue from them. “We will supply that service, however we are concerned it is persistently damaged and we’re going to review it on a regular basis,” he said.

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