Shopping centre hoons ‘out of control’

243964_07 Carpark and shopping centre.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

The noise is described as like a shotgun fired outside their homes.

All night long, sleepless residents are reportedly bombarded with backfiring, revving, burnouts, cheering and racing from massive hoon meets at a new shopping centre on Princes Highway, Springvale.

Springvale Mega Centre – formerly known as Ouson Plaza – is on the radar of the police operation targeting hoons in the South East – Operation Achilles.

But despite this, a neighbour told Star Journal that mobs of up to 300 cars were often roaring at the venue from 9.30pm-5.30am nearly every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

They were fueled up with a 24-7 McDonald’s outlet on the site – which seemed to be a crowd magnet, the resident said.

“It’s out of control.”

Noise reverberates through the neighbourhood like an “echo chamber”, the resident says.

Cars with modified exhaust systems are deliberately backfired as they race up and down the straights of Princes Highway.

“In these illegal cars, it’s louder than Sandown. It’s like a shotgun going off outside my window.”

The resident says like a past campaign against South East Skids, hoon cars should be impounded and crushed.

But the hoons were agile, “co-ordinated” by phone – they could alert each other before police arrived and return back in minutes, the resident claims.

Police, retailers, politicians and the shopping-centre owner Ouson Group had been contacted, but to no avail, the resident says.

“It’s a continuous issue, but it’s like we can’t turn to anybody,” the resident said.

Greater Dandenong councillor Sean O’Reilly proposed a meeting between Victoria Police, Ouson Group, the McDonald’s store and the council.

“It is obvious that this activity is impacting these local residents’ quiet enjoyment (and) mental health through lack of sleep, with that much noise for that period of time during the week.”

Inspector Jackie Klein from Victoria Police said police had a “no-tolerance” policy for illegal hoon activity.

“Highway Patrol Officers in the Greater Dandenong Police Service Area continue to have a highly visible presence on our roads targeting those who blatantly disregard the law and patrolling known hot spots in the area.

“Hoon activity is dangerous and not simply a bit of harmless fun but puts innocent road users, member of the community and those participating at risk of both death and serious injury.”

A McDonald’s Australia spokesperson said it took people’s safety and security seriously.

“We have not experienced any recent issues from this group of people in our restaurant or the car park, which is run by the shopping centre.

“Concerns related to the use of the surrounding main roads by any individuals is a matter for the police and outside McDonald’s influence and control.

“As a key contributor to the local community, we continue to provide our support and assistance to the Police and other key stakeholders as required.”

Ouson Group did not respond to the Star Journal.