A climate activism movement that aims to “make it impossible to own a huge polluting 4×4 in the world’s urban areas” has had a recent surge in activity in Australia’s most populated city.
As reported by The Age, a number of Toorak residents woke up to find their SUVs had had their tyres deflated by a fringe group called the Tyre Extinguishers, which originated in Europe last year.
The radical movement is deflating tyres on “massive and unnecessary vehicles” in order to cause inconvenience to their owners. It believes the government and politicians have “failed to protect us” and is taking matters into its own hands.
The Tyre Extinguishers previously put a call out saying it needed people in Melbourne and wanted to “get the party started there”.
This particular statement was in response to a photo posted on Twitter of a Ram 1500 pickup protruding from a parking space into a bike lane.
When approached by news.com.au, the Tyre Extinguishers said the group has been faced with “no legal issues”, and that Australia is its “next big target”.
“It’s very hard to get caught doing this, unless SUV owners are going to stay up all night, every night defending their vehicle in the off chance we appear,” a group member told news.com.au.
“If someone is caught, there’s a debate about whether what we are doing is even illegal. In the UK, police forces are divided about whether it’s a crime to let the air out of a tyre or not.
“It may not even meet the threshold for criminal damage.”
As recently reported, if anyone is caught without just cause or excuse, tampering of interfering with a motor vehicle owned by any other person is guilty of an offence.
Examples of this as defined by a Melbourne-based specialist criminal legal practice include deflating the tyres of someone’s car without consent, tampering with the brakes on a person’s car without consent, and tampering with the locks on a person’s car without consent.
The maximum penalty for this offence in Victoria is two penalty units or imprisonment for 14 days. The current penalty unit rate is $192.31, meaning this offence carries a maximum fine of $384.62.
In addition, if the person holds a driver’s licence or learner permit, the Victorian Court may cancel or disqualify the person from obtaining one for a period not exceeding four years.