by Chloe Lyons
RESIDENTS are speaking out after claiming they have been copping abuse and vandalism from a seemingly unstoppable teen gang for too long.
A concerned Coolum mother anonymously told the Sunshine Coast Daily a group of 15 to 20 teens have caused issues with locals and businesses for more than a year - but the final straw came when they allegedly attacked her son in broad daylight.
Having been on the phone to him at the time, the woman said she was left to helplessly listen as her son yelled at his attackers to stop while they stole his possessions.
"My concern is they're getting bigger and if something's not done and they continue to grow, what sort of community are we going to be living in?" she said.
After contacting the police, the woman said she was told there was little that could be done due to the young age of the alleged offenders.
"The group in question have been out of control in Coolum for quite a long time now," she said.
"I contacted the police and unless I make a formal complaint they can't take it any further.
"Because they're under-age, they think they can get away with anything."
The woman said she believed the youths were affiliated with a gang called the "Lads" although this theory is unsupported by authorities.
A manager of the Coolum McDonald's, also speaking anonymously, said the restaurant and crew had felt the full brunt of the teens.
"They lit one of our cardboard bins on fire and they vandalise our property..." she said.
"They also drink alcohol in our bathrooms, so we've found empty bottles of alcohol, we've found methylated spirits."
While the youths were once banned from the store, the manager said things are a bit calmer now, but because most of the group are under-age the police can't do much to stop them.
"They (the police) know who they are and what they do, so they just move them on to the next place" she said.
Despite the claims, Coolum Beach Police Station Officer-in-Charge Hardy Wirth said there had not been an unusual amount of incidents in relation to youths behaving badly in the Coolum area and there was "no cause for concern".
"There is a group of youths who use the recreational facilities in Coolum and also use businesses in Coolum for their own purposes," he said.
"The age group would be about 14 to 17 year olds.
"It is not a large group, no more than five to six kids.
"There haven't been reports of assault, although there have been complaints about their behaviour, however, they move on and it hasn't escalated."