YOUNG thugs are ruining recreational fishing and family fun at the iconic Urangan Pier and a team of local residents has a plan to reclaim it.
United by their determination not to be pushed out by foul-mouthed, thieving teenagers, the group is preparing to petition for stronger security against the undesirables they have come to know as Pier Rats.
Police have called on fed-up locals to report the kind of behaviour which long-term resident and mother Libby McDonald says is turning the much-loved attraction into a "no-go zone".
When Ms McDonald's teenage sons had their fishing gear stolen at the pier, she decided to make further inquiries and soon the petty theft was symptomatic of a much larger problem.
A post on a community forum about a $4000 camera being hurled over the side and into the water, attracted more than 90 like-minded responses about the ugly actions of the Pier Rats.
The Chronicle too has received reports of seagulls being tortured and bait fish being thrown at passers by.
"It is clear these kids think they are untouchable... out there away from everything they can carry on with their bullying and intimidation tactics," Ms McDonald said
"It's bad enough in the day time - they target retirees, the disabled and people who are younger than them - and after five it's a no-go zone ... they can drink down there and go fully unsupervised."
Hervey Bay Police Sergeant Paul Byrne said the station had not received a complaint about a disturbance at the pier since a report was made about lures being thrown at canoes on August 3.
He said police needed to be made aware of problems so they could "conduct patrols and do something about it".
Ms McDonald said while increased police presence would be welcome, it was not the job of police to "baby-sit people's kids" and the community would be better served by keeping cops on the streets and having security cameras installed on the pier.
"In many cases people think having a can of drink pegged at their heads or their keys thrown in the ocean is a waste of police time and instead, they just stay away," she said.
"It's infuriating that people who work all their lives can't enjoy fishing or walking on the pier because of these little twerps."
Cameras have recently been installed in various trouble spots around the Fraser Coast.
A petition calling for cameras on the pier will be available at this weekend's markets and at the Chronicle front counters in Maryborough and Hervey Bay from next Monday.
Non-urgent reports can be made via Policelink on 131 444.
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