Boy's tooth knocked out in late-night street attack

A group of children as young as 11 were beaten in a late-night street attack in Masterton by a teenager armed with a length of wood, police say.

Masterton police Sergeant Paul Lee said the group of children, all boys aged 11 to 13, were attacked in Bannister St about 1am yesterday.

In an unrelated incident about 6pm on Saturday, a Masterton man was assaulted after confronting a man allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle from his property.

The man and other members of the public chased the alleged culprit on foot for about 1km. A 19-year-old man was later arrested.

Mr Lee said one of the children assaulted in the later attack had a tooth knocked out and another had a tooth cracked. Both were taken to Wairarapa Hospital for treatment.

Two of the children had avoided becoming involved in the attack and escaped injury. Police believe a length of wood or long stick had been used to beat the two victims.

Mr Lee said a 17-year-old youth had been arrested and was being held in custody to appear in Masterton District Court today, charged with assault with a weapon.

The children had been referred to Child, Youth and Family, Mr Lee said, independently of the assault charge and investigation.

"That children of that age were out in the street at such a late hour was very concerning."

Police were still investigating whether others were involved in the attack on the children and if further arrests were possible.

In the unrelated matter involving the attempted motorcycle theft, Mr Lee said the alleged offender had been arrested at an Intermediate St property, about 1km from Pownall St, where the foot chase had began.

The resident had suffered minor injuries in the assault, he said.

Mr Lee said the officers had entered the Intermediate St property using the new Search and Surveillance Act that came into effect on October 1.

- Nathan Crombie of the Wairarapa Times-Age

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