One of the four kids filling up the Nissan Patrol at the service station in Banana, before driving off without paying.
One of the four kids filling up the Nissan Patrol at the service station in Banana, before driving off without paying. Bill North

1000km journey in stolen car ends in police custody

THREE Yeppoon children are waiting to be picked up by their parents after travelling in a stolen vehicle from Gracemere to Grafton on the weekend.

After spending time in police custody the trio were yesterday transferred to the NSW Family and Community Services department while their parents travel interstate to collect them.

The fourth child who travelled in the car was taken home by his mother who is believed to live in Grafton.

 

Four children allegedly stole a car and drove from Gracemere to Grafton
CHILD CHASE: Four children allegedly stole a car and drove from Gracemere to Grafton Centro Art

The children, a 12-year-old girl, two 13-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy, allegedly stole one of their father's vehicles before driving the 1,000 kilometre journey.

It is understood the 12-year-old girl and the two 13-year-old boys are from Queensland. The 14-year-old boy is believed to originally be from Grafton.

The teenagers allegedly took turns driving from Gracemere to the north coast of New South Wales.

The car was taken on Saturday night and spotted at Banana on Sunday morning at 4.45am when the vehicle was involved in a petrol stealing incident.

It continued travelling down the Leichardt Highway before it was allegedly used to steal more petrol in Warialda.

Police then spotted the vehicle near Glen Innes where they took pursuit for a short time before terminating the chase to ensure the children's safety.

They were later found in the stolen Nissan Patrol parked off the Gwdyir Highway at Jackadgery at 10.40pm.

Coffs/Clarence Acting Inspector Darren Williams said police tracked down the location of the children through one of their mobile phones.

"It's a pretty big journey, and a long way for a young person," he said.

It is not known whether any of the children will be charged.

The groups motivation for leaving is still unknown, but police confirmed they took fishing rods, cash and one of the children left a note to his family indicating he was leaving.

The father who owns the stolen car is believed to have travelled to Grafton on Monday.