Main Street Pharmacy proprietor Joy Phillips and Steffi Hawke clean up the damage after the shop was raided for drugs.
Main Street Pharmacy proprietor Joy Phillips and Steffi Hawke clean up the damage after the shop was raided for drugs. Marc Stapelberg

Thieves nab meth ingredients

AN Alstonville pharmacist copped a rude awakening yesterday when a security company called in the early hours of the morning with the news her business had been broken into.

Joy Phillips, from Main Street Pharmacy, turned up to work at 5.20am yesterday to find the shop's front window had been smashed.

After waiting anxiously in her car to see if the thieves were still inside the business, Ms Phillips entered the pharmacy, which was empty, and found 21 boxes of medication containing pseudoephedrine had been stolen.

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient used in making methamphetamines.

The thieves used two bricks to smash the front window.

Ms Phillips said she called the police at 5.25am but they did not arrive until after 8am.

"It was still dark and the security company could not get a car out here," she said.

"I had a feeling it would have been a drug bust and that the thieves would have come and gone straight away.

"But I had a nearly four-hour wait on my own."

A WorkCover representative arrived before the police and put a barrier and caution tape around the glass, which covered the footpath.

Richmond Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Nicole Bruce, said the initial call about the pharmacy break-in was recorded as only requiring fingerprint analysis, meaning the job was listed as non-urgent.

"There was a wait, but due to the previous message that it was not urgent it would not have made it a priority job," she said.

Insp Bruce said the crime occurred at 4.30am, the job was updated at 5.44am when details of what was stolen was recorded and police arrived at the pharmacy at 8.50am.

Ms Phillips said she called the police "four or five times" and was concerned for her safety.

Despite the wait, the pharmacy make-up artist Steffi Hawke, who spent the morning cleaning up shards of broken glass, was relieved no one was in the pharmacy at the time.

"That is your biggest fear working in a pharmacy that someone will come in with a knife or a gun during a hold-up," she said.

Police said there was a "possibility" the crime was linked to an earlier break-in at a Ballina pharmacy. At 12.30am yesterday, a pharmacy on Tamar St was broken into and cash was stolen.

Anyone with information call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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