‘We won’t put up with this crap’
A CAIRNS hotelier has issued a warning to any drug dealer, thief or fugitive thinking of stepping foot on his property - and he wants the rest of the industry to follow suit.
Queens Court Hotel owner Zak Sarnecki has a razor-sharp CCTV surveillance system at his Sheridan St premises that too often captures footage of thieves trying to steal anything not bolted down.
The most recent pilferer was a shirtless man who stole food, heated it up in the microwave, and returned after his early-morning supper to pinch a TV set-top box.
That footage, shot on December 28, went straight to the police liaison officer who deals directly with the hotel whenever it has an issue.
It might seem a trivial offence, but the barebacked bandit's raid was just the tip of the iceberg for a town Mr Sarnecki believes is in the grip of a drug and crime epidemic.
He is taking a zero tolerance approach to criminal and anti-social behaviour and reporting everything to police and the social media masses.
"Between all the drugs and break-ins, it's now time to name and shame people on Facebook," he said.
"Some months ago a lady tried to steal merchandise from reception.
"We posted it on Facebook and she was tracked down and successfully prosecuted." Police are also called if a suspicious character checks in.
"We've helped police resolve several outstanding warrants," Mr Sarnecki said.
"A gentleman checked in two months ago and we suspected he was up to no good.
"We checked his ID, sent it to police, and it turned out he was wanted on drug charges."
Officers arrived within minutes and arrested the man with a bag of drugs in his possession.
"We will not put up with this crap on our property and I wish all hotels in Cairns would do it too," Mr Sarnecki said.
"We're not here to provide a safe haven for drug dealers and thieves.
"Our guests appreciate what we're doing.
"Everybody in Cairns needs to be proactive, otherwise the crime rate is not going to stop."
Cairns City Beat Senior Sergeant Gary Hunter said community intelligence was invaluable. "We rely on the community for support and information that leads to the identification of offenders," he said. "Police can't do it alone."