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Crime Stoppers takes aim at black-market grog-runners

Your help is needed to catch grog-runners who make significant profit from the harmful and illegal trade.

02.06.2023 News

Crime Stoppers Northern Territory is joining forces with NT Police and retailers to raise awareness about the perils of secondary alcohol supply and ask for help to catch grog-runners who continue to make significant profit from the harmful and illegal trade.

The campaign reminds people about the legal regulations governing alcohol supply across the Northern Territory and discourages the sale or supply of alcohol by unauthorised individuals or unlicensed stores.

Chair of Crime Stoppers NT, Catherine Phillips, said: “There are some individuals who buy alcohol on behalf of their banned drinker relatives and friends, bypassing the intended restrictions. We want everyone to understand that when they do that, they risk being placed on the Banned Drinking Register and receiving significant penalties.”

“Our campaign also takes aim at criminals who transport alcohol across local or jurisdiction boundaries to sell it in the black market within restricted areas. We know that despite current measures, a significant quantity of alcohol continues to enter our communities without being lawfully sold through licensed outlets.”

The illegal practice, known as “grog-running”, is a lucrative black-market business that continues to undermine the health and safety of remote communities.

The latest Wastewater testing results, released by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in March 2023, found regional Northern Territory ranked first nationally in consumption of alcohol.

“Given the unique challenges we face in the Northern Territory, it is imperative that we work together as a community to address secondary supply effectively,” she said.

“By educating ourselves, reporting suspicious activities, and supporting licensed venues, we can make a real difference in reducing the harm caused by alcohol.”

To tackle this issue effectively, Crime Stoppers NT encourages individuals and communities to take the following steps:

  • Education and awareness: Understand the law, restrictions and personal risks associated with secondary supply and the potential legal and health consequences.
    Reporting: If anyone has information about secondary supply activity and grog-running, they can anonymously report what they know to Crime Stoppers – because every tip received has the potential to prevent further crimes.
    Supporting licensed venues: Backing licensed venues that sell alcohol legally can help decrease the demand for secondary supply. This support also promotes responsible drinking habits and reduces the risk of alcohol-related harm.
  • “It is crucial that everyone understands that secondary supply is unlawful, and can lead to severe legal consequences. By uniting as a community and sharing information about suspicious behaviour, we can collectively prevent secondary supply and support efforts to mitigate the harmful impact of alcohol,” Ms Phillips said.

Australia has regulations in place that prohibit the possession, consumption, and purchases of alcohol by individuals under the age of 18 in licensed premises and public places. However, the Northern Territory has a unique approach to alcohol restrictions, where alcohol is limited to specific groups based on criteria other than age. This includes local restrictions, known as Dry Areas, which are controlled by either the NT Government (general restricted areas) or the Federal Government (alcohol protected areas) through legislation. In these areas, alcohol is strictly prohibited outside of licensed premises, with limited exceptions for eligible permit holders.

In addition to online advertising, the campaign will see prominent campaign posters displayed at key locations across the Territory.

If you have information about secondary supply of alcohol – including grog-running – then make an anonymous report online or freecall 1800 333 000.