BRAZEN THEFT: Brendan Byrne, licensee of the Australian Hotel in Ballina, at the coolroom door that had its lock smashed off af
BRAZEN THEFT: Brendan Byrne, licensee of the Australian Hotel in Ballina, at the coolroom door that had its lock smashed off af

Thieves rumbled with their booty

By DAWN COHEN

THIEVES used a wheelie bin to smash through a fibro wall of Ballina's Australian Hotel on Wednesday night to steal 15 cartons of canned rum.

When police retrieved the goods from a Ballina house a few hours later, the perpetrators had fortified themselves with a taste of their plunder.

"We got most of it back, but they sampled a bit of what they took," said hotel licensee Brendan Byrne.

Between 9.30pm and 11.30pm, the thieves broke into the River Street pub, smashing the locks of the coolroom entrance and stealing the liquor.

Security guards alerted police after witnessing the break and enter. The hotelier was unperturbed yesterday.

"It's par for the course in this job," the former Sydneysider said.

Mr Byrne was woken at 1am yesterday with the news.

His son, hotel manager Shannon Byrne, had already secured the site after being notified earlier that night.

"It was young fellas they think did it, but that is all I can tell you," Mr Byrne said.

"Within six hours of it happening, the cops had it all wrapped up.

"They did a great job."

Duty Officer Insp Tony Crandell said witnesses lead police to obtain a search warrant for a Ballina residence.

"We have identified a person who we believe can help us with our enquiries," he said.

Mr Byrne said the hotel had been burgled once before in the three and a half years since he purchased the business.



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