Police on the scene of a break-in Leongatha last night.


AN opportunist offender could find themselves in trouble after CCTV cameras are believed to filmed the theft of ready-mix drinks from a Leongatha hotel on Thursday night.

Police Crime Scene officers were on the scene at McCartin’s Hotel this morning, collecting evidence from what they say was an incident in which the offender bypassed security and stole the goods from the bottleshop.

Little more than $100 worth was involved, if that.

And while there has been a few incidents of breaking and entering at commercial premises in Leongatha in recent months, recently at BP Westside when cigarettes were stolen and most notably the damaging incident at a jewelers in the town, the reality is that the incidence of these sorts of crimes is way down according to figures released this week by the Crime Statistics Agency.

They found that both burglaries and break-ins were down in South Gippsland from a spike of 211 incidents in 2020 to 111 for the 12 months to the end of March 2021, a figure that is closer to the long-term average.

The reported number of thefts in South Gippsland were also well down, in line with the rest of the state, from a spike last year of 346 incidents to 228 to March 2021.

Overall, according to the latest figures, there has been a 6.8% decrease in the total number of criminal incidents in South Gippsland LGA, while there has been a 17.6% rise in Bass Coast but these figures continue to be dominated by family violence order breaches.

According to the crime report, property and deception offences decreased sharply during this period from April 2020 to March 2021 in Victoria. The overall decrease in the last 12 months was driven by Theft (down 44,402 offences or 23.4%) and Burglary/Break and Enter offences (down 12,739 offences or 29.3%). Theft offences made up the majority of Property and Deception offences (57.6% in the last 12 months).

Most of the recorded stolen property items were taken from residential locations. The decrease in the last 12 months in the Residential non-aggravated burglary offence type has contributed to less stolen property reports (down 30.9%). The dramatic decreases observed in the last 12 months may be attributable to COVID-19-related disruptions, given that more people have been spending time, working from home, and the like.

So, South Gippsland, at least, is safer this year than it was last year, notwithstanding the recent profile incidents in Leongatha.