Liquor lock-out

Moe police have quashed a swell of packaged liquor thefts from bottle shops and supermarket retailers under a crackdown ban.

Senior Sergeant Cameron Blair said the Moe area had once been subject to a high volume of packaged liquor thefts from bottle shops and supermarket outlets.

In the six-month period between December 2014 and June 2015, more than 70 thefts were reported.

Under new packaged liquor outlet bans adopted in June this year, persons arrested for stealing alcohol off the shelves are automatically served a banning notice which precludes them from buying liquor from any sales outlet in the Moe area.

Personal details and photographs are also shared between the managers of liquor outlets under the provision of Liquor Control Reform Act.

Snr Sgt Blair said two people had been charged with trespass and six others had been banned from packaged liquor outlets in Moe and surrounding towns since the amendment.

He said there had also been no reported liquor thefts in the last two months, an “unprecedented result”.

“If the ban is broken they can face a $2000 fine and are charged with trespass,” Snr Sgt Blair said.

“By implementing these strategies, we’ve curbed alcohol thefts from Moe.”

He said the changes followed a special Latrobe City Liquor Accord Moe sub-branch meeting between packaged liquor outlets and police, who considered new strategies to combat a spike in liquor thefts.

The policy offers a similar strategy to the liquor accord ban, where if a person commits an offence in a hotel, they can be banned from all other local hotels and licensed venues for a designated time period.

Snr Sgt Blair said there was previously a gap between licensed venue bans and packaged liquor thefts.

“If you commit an offence in a hotel you’re banned from attending a hotel, but if you commit an offence by stealing alcohol from an outlet that was just treated as a theft,” Snr Sgt Blair said.

“We find with alcohol-related theft a number of offenders who steal at one outlet will go to a number of outlets, so this information stream has proven to be very effective,” Snr Sgt Blair said.

Moe Sergeant Paul Stow, who holds the liquor portfolio for the Moe sub-branch of the Latrobe City Liquor Accord, developed the packaged liquor outlet banned persons notice, approved by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Sgt Stow has also worked with outlets to improve security at liquor outlets with one Moe retailer deciding to lock all high-end spirits behind locked glass doors from opportunistic thieves.

“It’s about ironing out and identifying problems before they happen and working with our partners to create a collaborative approach to dealing with this issue,” Sgt Stow said.

The packaged liquor outlet banned persons notice is set to be later adopted across the Latrobe Valley townships.