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Thieves target codeine combo

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Thieves make a beeline for over-the-counter codeine in crowbar attack

Just days after the low-dose codeine upschedule, a Victorian pharmacy has been burgled and codeine is taken.

Police say criminals used a sledgehammer and crowbar to break into a Lilydale pharmacy just after 4am on February 5.

The pharmacy’s owner told the AJP that they took away only 13 boxes of Prodeine Forte.

“They were in the OTC area looking for OTC codeine, but everything is stashed away now, you can’t put it out the front since the first,” he said.

They also looked around, the prescription and controlled drugs areas and the owner says he suspected they were looking for diazepam, but were possibly foiled by the way the dispensary is organised.

“They went up to the Panadeine Forte and they found some Prodeine Forte, but they didn’t take all of it – they left some of it on the floor. They didn’t take Stilnox or any of the drugs of dependence. They were in a hurry and left a mess.

“All this took about three and a half minutes.

“It’s my first break-in and it’s not a good feeling.”

While the pharmacy already had significant security in place including grilles on the windows, he says he’ll be upgrading security shortly.

While Prodeine Forte was not one of the products upscheduled from S3 to S4, the pharmacy’s owner says he wants to raise awareness about the possibility of codeine-seeking thieves and crime affecting pharmacy in the area.

“We notified the surrounding pharmacies saying we had a break-in, so at least they’re aware,” he said.

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