During Saturday night's blackout, patrons at Deniliquin's Exchange Hotel smashed glasses and stole display items.By Cass Savellis
It was behaviour not usually seen in local pubs, but several patrons at the Exchange Hotel took Sunday morning’s blackout as an opportunity to cause chaos at the End St premises.
The power failure, which cut electricity to most of south-east Deniliquin, happened about 1.20am after a car hit a power pole in Crispe St.
Shortly afterwards Exchange patrons were asked to exit the hotel.
While most followed instructions, others chose to run a mini riot with glasses being smashed and a chair being hurled over the front gate of the beer garden and onto the End St footpath.
An attempt to take one of the swords that serve as the hotel’s emblem was stopped by staff moments before it was about to be walked off the premises.
Exchange Hotel proprietor, Colin Thorpe, said the swords would now be permanently removed from the display cabinet and locked away.
‘‘It’s just too dangerous, especially if someone had left the hotel with a sword.’’
Sports memorabilia was also damaged and a NSW State of Origin jumper is still missing.
Exchange staff turned to social media on Sunday, unsuccessfully urging the perpetrator to return the rugby league jumper without police intervention.
An umbrella located in the beer garden was also destroyed, along with three dozen glasses.
‘‘It’s just an unfortunate incident,’’ Mr Thorpe said.
‘‘We are usually impressed by the behaviour of people, but there are just a few that have to really run amok.’’
Staff also found people refusing to leave the premises by hiding under the pool table and in the beer garden.
‘‘There were eight staff on who managed the incident well .
‘‘I guess there’s a positive side that no one got hurt.’’
Mr Thorpe said the incident proved that the new security measures being put in place at the hotel were ‘‘definitely needed’’.
‘‘By Friday we aim to have ID (identification) scanners up and running, which show a history of offences committed.
‘‘This isn’t just about ID, but also making the hotel safer for everybody. We are investing heavily in technology, bringing a whole new security means to the pub.’’
~ Cass Savellis
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