Youths vandalise tourist icon
NOTHING much frightens or upsets local shark hunter Vic Hislop.
Over the years he has stared down some of the biggest fighting machines the ocean can offer up.
So what has made our local tourist identity hopping mad?
The answer is his frustration over a series of unprovoked attacks on his iconic seafront tourist attraction on Hervey Bay’s Esplanade.
The latest was early on Monday morning when a woman spotted five men ripping the tail off his mock Great White shark.
“It was around 1am and she told me she rang the police but no one turned up,” Mr Hislop said.
“The blokes were still there kicking the shark and eventually wandered off.”
Police yesterday said they had received a call around that time reporting the incident.
“Police did attend and they located the youths,” Sergeant Dave Dansie said.
“Information received said they had been swinging on the shark and damaged it and then they headed towards Torquay. They were spoken to but it would appear at this stage no formal complaint has been received in relation to damage to the shark.”
An angry Mr Hislop said it was the third attack on his big fibreglass shark this month.
“First they battered some of the shark’s teeth out.
“Next day they poured a chemical mixture into it and tried to burn it.
“Now they’ve attacked it again.
“I’ve been fixing up this sort of mindless destruction for 24 years and still no one’s been caught and gone before the courts.
“I’m getting really fed up being under consistent attack like this.”
Mr Hislop says visitors from all over the world visit the exhibition.
“Some tell me they even gear their holidays around it,” the world renowned shark hunter said. “What will they think about these hoons destroying gear right in front of the Charlton Esplanade?
“It’s not just my exhibition. I hear and read that all over town businesses are being attacked.
“These hoons should be stopped in their tracks.”
Mr Hislop said that several years ago he and his wife were living above the shark exhibition when it was attacked by three men and a woman.
“They smashed windows and took off with the dummy in the shark boat. A woman rang me and said the dummy was tied to a tree at Point Vernon.
“A white car stopped outside the shark exhibition and I followed it to Point Vernon and accosted the people in it.”
He says he took them to the police station where they admitted offences and Mr Hislop went home to clean up the mess.
“I was having dinner with some friends the next night when two police arrived and read out six charges against me.
“These included taking these offenders from their car to the police station. It was a six-year jail offence, the police told me.
“The hoteliers around at the time got behind me because they too were fed up with vandalism and hoons and eventually no one was charged.
“It was the first time in at least 17 years of vandalism on my property that anyone was caught. And no one was charged. I wonder whether anything will get done this time.”