By ERWIN CHLANDA
The new owner of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket, whose liquor outlet has been shut down for 48 hours by the police, says he has been working with them to reduce anti-social behaviour in the area.
Haydn Rodda, who bought the business with his wife only five weeks ago, says the order was given by the police yesterday.
Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw says in a media release: “On 17, 21 and 23 July 2018 it is alleged by police that liquor was sold to drunk persons” by the supermarket and he is exercising powers that came into effect from 20 June.
Mr Rodda says no proof of offences alleged by Mr Kershaw was given to him. He has shown the police CCTV footage recorded by the shop which in his view did not show any indication that customers were drunk.
Mr Rodda says the staff in the liquor part of the shop are experienced and had been with the business for years.
They observe people walking in, and have a conversation with them to gauge if they are drunk. This is normal routine, he says.
No-one is served unless they can be recognised on the photo ID they present.
Mr Rodda says there are frequently drunks in the area, including across the road, something he is keen to help stop. No proof has been presented that these people bought the liquor from Piggly Wiggly.
Commissioner Kershaw says: “In the past 14 days, police have attended 29 separate incidents on or near that same licensed premises, including general and domestic disturbances, assaults, drunk persons and liquor offences.”
Mr Rodda says the police are clearly making a point: “We’ve been working with the police for the past few weeks, since we’ve taken over.
“We welcomed the police to be here, to stop the anti-social behaviour out the front, down the road or wherever. We’ve been trying to do what we can.
“Obviously the commissioner just said, we’re going to start with Piggly’s, we are going to put our foot down, they’ve got a few issues, bang.
“I was shocked, my wife is very shocked.
“Obviously Piggly’s has been on the radar, and we are the first and we’re not going to be the last.
“I think they are going to be very heavy-handed.”
Mr Rodda has been a businessman in Alice Springs for 25 years and his wife has lived here for 48 years.
Police said in an email at 3.30pm today: “As the matters have been referred to Licensing, NT Police are unable to comment further.”