Cessnock council is investigating a range of options to deter hoons doing late night burnouts at Cessnock airport

CONCERN: Councillors Paul Dunn and John Fagg whose council wards border the troublesome burnout spot. Picture Sage Swinton.
CONCERN: Councillors Paul Dunn and John Fagg whose council wards border the troublesome burnout spot. Picture Sage Swinton.

Cessnock council is investigating a range of options to deter hoons doing late night burnouts at Cessnock airport.

Council has met with police following a number of complaints from nearby residents and local businesses to come up with a strategy.

Ben Merkenhof is one local fed up with the activity which has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

"We're seeing burnout marks, blown tyres, even wheel rims on the ground when we come in to work in the morning," he said. "It's like a war zone ... you can't drive straight down the road. You have to weave your way down through the debris. It's just totally unacceptable behaviour."

Mr Merkenhof said a resident in one of the nearby vineyards had set up cameras to monitor bat activity on the vines, and was amazed at the footage. "He told me you couldn't see your hand in front of your face because the smoke was so thick from burnouts nearby," Mr Merkenhof said.

"He called police but by the time the cars get here from out of the area, it's too late." According to Mr Merkenhof the weekends are prime time for the hoons in the early hourse of the morning.

"We're hearing it's from just before midnight until 2am or a bit later," he said. Councillor Paul Dunn, whose ward borders the Pokolbin burnout area - near the De Beyers Road and Col Turnbull Parade intersection - was one of a number of councillors who sat down with Hunter Valley Police Chief Inspector Michael Gorman to discuss the issue.

"He is going to add it to the police General Duties list, which means we should see more police cars in the area," Cr Dunn said.

"Obviously it's very frustrating, but as a council there's only so much we can do. Unlawful activity is a police matter.

"We are awaiting a report from the operational side of council which will look at the options available to us ... but there are a number of options we could consider.

"De Beyers is a public road, which makes things difficult, but Col Turnbull Parade is a council road, so things like a gate to close the road off at night is a possibility. Or maybe we could look at speed bumps, and of course security cameras can also be considered. Like I said, we'll see what the report suggests."

It's like a war zone ... you can't drive straight down the road. You have to weave your way down through the debris.

Local businessman Ben Merkenhof