DISPIRITED: Licensee of the Ballina Hotel, Cameron Nealer, outside his bottle shop which was robbed in a smash-and-grab attack.
DISPIRITED: Licensee of the Ballina Hotel, Cameron Nealer, outside his bottle shop which was robbed in a smash-and-grab attack. The Northern Star

Publican asks public to join fight on youth crime

BALLINA Hotel licensee Cameron Nealer has been left shaking his head in frustration after two youths broke into the hotel's bottle shop and stole $100 in spirits on Sunday morning.

It is the third time since Christmas that the bottle shop has been targeted by thieves, prompting Mr Nealer to call for the community to help tackle the ongoing problem.

The thieves, who had T-shirts wrapped around their heads, left blood at the site after they smashed the River Street store's glass shopfront about 6am, causing $500 in damage.

Mr Nealer was in bed when he heard the alarm go off, but by the time he got to the bottle shop the culprits had fled on bicycles.

"I'm just disappointed and upset by this. We won't tolerate it happening again," he said.

"About five cars drove past when it happened, and they must have thought the kids looked suspicious.

"We've got to work together as a community and call police if we see anything at all unusual, to stop things like this from happening again."

Images of the break-in were caught on the hotel's closed circuit television camera. Footage has been passed on to police.

Mr Nealer said police had also been able to take a sample of DNA from blood at the site, which is also being analysed by police.

Meanwhile, vandals caused several thousand dollars damage to a business premises at Links Avenue, East Ballina, at the weekend.

Police are seeking witnesses or anyone with information about break-ins or vandalism to contact their local police station or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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