Lauren Ruffell, Ethan Watson, Scott Jones and Fox Moore were serving Bacon and egg sandwiches to the Airlie community this morning.
Lauren Ruffell, Ethan Watson, Scott Jones and Fox Moore were serving Bacon and egg sandwiches to the Airlie community this morning. Jacob Wilson

Looters fail to kill Airlie Tree House generosity

BEING looted by 'scum' in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie didn't stop Airlie Beach Tree House staff from trying to do their bit for the community this morning.

Between midday and 6pm yesterday - in broad daylight, thieves were able to break into the Airlie Beach Tree House and neighbouring Café Cool Lala although they failed to gain access to Mr Bones pizza shop.

Up to 60-70 bottles of spirits and wine were taken from Airlie Tree House while cash and alcohol was cleaned out of Café Cool Lala.

Airlie Tree House owner Paul Burfitt said his business suffered minimal cyclone-related damage, but the theft had set him back substantially.

"These mongrels came in and used a crowbar to jam the lock and pop the window out of frame and now we have to repair. It completely takes your faith in humanity," he said.

"On one hand we have a great community bonding together and on the other hand you have these a**eholes making it harder for small business.

"I'd be guessing $5-10,000 in damage and stock and theft of property."

Despite this, Airlie Tree House staff still found room in their hearts to assist the wider Airlie community today.

From 8am, their staff were busy serving bacon and egg sandwiches for people in the community for $5.

However, moments after setting up, a council staff member informed them they couldn't operate due to a lack of running water - for hygiene purposes.

Mr Burfitt said in the meantime he would able to keep his food cold with a generator and accumulate sufficient water to continue to serve the community from 8am tomorrow morning.

A Whitsunday Regional Council spokesperson confirmed a council officer did speak to Airlie Tree House staff and stressed food hygiene was vital.

"It's a real safety concern with food hygiene to have premises running without running water, it's a very important part of hygiene and food safety requirements," the spokesperson said.

Authorities are understood to be informing relevant people in the area of these regulations.

Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity among Airlie Beach Tree House, Café Cool Lala and Mr Bones is urged to call the Whitsunday Police Station on 4948 8888.


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