Darren Ratcliffe’s sleep is interrupted by strange noises coming from the road behind his Mount Warrigal home.
He wakes, and dials triple-zero. Five times he has done it now.
He has lived in the house for 19 years, but the noises – the sounds of abandoned cars being incinerated on an isolated section of nearby Rowland Avenue – have only recently become a regular problem, he says.
“You can hear the popping of the cars, explosions and hisses – that sort of stuff,” he said.
“There was one burnt out recently 150-200 metres from the [Warrigal Care] nursing home.
“I’m concerned about the elderly residents up there. They probably don’t realise what’s going on. It’s frightening.”
Mr Ratcliffe believes there have been at least nine cars incinerated on the street this year. He and his neighbour, John Penno, say they are fed up with the problem.
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Last month two utes were parked at the top of the hill on Rowland Avenue and incinerated.
One later rolled down the hill, veering off the roadway and coming to rest in bushland.
Mr Ratcliffe believes the car was pushed and allowed to run out of control by “kids on school holidays”.
He says it is only luck that prevented serious damage to neighbourhood homes or residents.
“It came three quarters of the way down the hill,” he said.
“As it was coming down there was a huge chance of it going into our house or into our next-door neighbour’s house, and possibly others, depending on the way it veered. Luckily it veered off to the left.
“A neighbour heard the bang and called police.
“Prior to this you’d think, another stolen car, an insurance job’, but cars being pushed towards houses raises alarm bells.”
“It makes me furious.”
The site has also become a popular spot for dumping rubbish, including large items such as matresses.
Mr Ratcliffe believes, short of installing surveillance cameras in area bushland, authorities are largely powerless to stop the problem.
He is calling on those who are lighting up in the neighbourhood to consider its residents.
“Think about other people and the safety of others before you start pushing cars down hills.”