‘Lock your doors, stay inside’: Gang of teens rampage
TERRIFIED residents were told to "stay inside and lock the doors" after a group of more than 100 youths hurled rocks and damaged a police car in Melbourne's northwest overnight.
Dozens of heavily armed riot and plain-clothed police blocked off main roads and diverted traffic in Taylors Hill and Caroline Springs to disperse the large group of young people.
It all began when the group gathered at a basketball court and complex in the suburb at about 5.30pm when police heard reports of a number of "projectiles, believed to be rocks" being thrown.
As one rock smashed the rear windscreen of a police car, residents were told to stay inside, lock the doors, and also to park their cars off the road and in their garages if possible.
Taxi drivers were warned on their in-car message boards to avoid the area "due to a riot".
"There were massive groups," one horrified resident told the Herald Sun.
"They told me to stay inside, lock the doors and yeah, it's scary," another resident added.
One resident of Bronte Way told The Age, police were roaming the area and a helicopter was flying overhead when he came home. He said there were more than 100 youths involved in the incident.
"This has happened multiple times … but it hasn't happened for a good four or five months," he said.
"That's the reason we have roller shutters now. I'm not opening the door. I was told by police to get inside before."
Another neighbour said had been told by police that two groups of people had planned to come down and meet to start a brawl.
"We've been here nine years and this is the worst yet … You build a nice house in a nice area … you don't want to start seeing things like that, where is it coming from?" he told The Age.
The dramatic scenes come after a crime spree in Taylors Hill in January when two teenagers were attacked and two homes were broken into during a four-hour rampage in Melbourne's western suburbs.
In one incident, a 17-year-old was ambushed and hit with what appeared to be a baseball bat after refusing a demand for his belongings.
The terrified teenager was then dragged along the ground before the offenders fled in a car.
Police were searching for a number of men of African appearance after those incidents.
In relation to last night's riot, a police spokeswoman said: "Police continued to patrol the area and monitor the situation as the youths dispersed and were moved on from the area a short time later."
There were no reports of major injuries.