Hotel Bar Installs Camera to Target Drink Spikings

Police in Southern Australia have installed video surveillance inside a popular seaside hotel to try to snare an alleged drink spiker who is potentially putting lives at risk.

Cameras are hidden strategically inside the Robe Hotel to catch a possible drink spiker who has allegedly struck up to four times in the past week.

There have been three spiking incidents in Robe and one in Beachport, leaving victims poisoned and requiring emergency help and hospital treatment. Police say toxicology reports on the victims are expected next week.

They are still treating the incidents as drink spikings, not overdoses.

Robe Hotel manager Phil Carson said the hotel had also boosted its own security in the wake of the incidents, which also occurred at other locations.

''We've put a couple of things in place to make things safer,'' Mr Carson said.

''We can only do so much, but it's up to the customers to protect their own drinks. ''We are telling people we can't watch everyone - we are doing what we can.''

Mr Carson feared a drink spiker may be holidaying in Robe, a popular summer destination.

Robe's population has swelled to about 15,000 in recent weeks and the pub was ''packed from about 5pm'' with about 150 people in the front bar, he said.

Senior Sergeant Steve Hill, acting officer in charge of the South-East local service area, said police had no suspects.

He said the hidden surveillance

equipment at the Robe Hotel would help to catch any drink spikers.

''There has been surveillance equipment placed in the hotel with a view to protect the patrons that are there,'' he said.

''Even if we don't catch the person, we have to try and stop them putting people's lives at risk.''

The four suspected cases of drink spiking were reported to police.

An 18-year-old Mt Gambier man reported dizziness and vomiting after finishing a drink he left unattended at a pub in Beachport on New Year's Eve.

Two women stopped breathing and were taken to hospital after two separate suspected drink spiking incidents at Robe, also last weekend.

And on January 4, an 18-year-old Naracoorte man needed to be resuscitated by friends after another incident at Robe.

Australian Hotels Association SA general manager Ian Horne said patrons should be warned that drink spiking could also happen in country areas.

''It sends a message that while many people think it's an occurrence that may happen in the city and nightclubs . . . we all have to be on guard,'' he said.

Mr Horne said he had no problems with the police video being installed inside the pubs.

''Certainly, anything that assists licensees and particularly patrons' safety, we would obviously be supportive of those broad approaches,'' he said.

Royal Adelaide Hospital figures show about three people a week report having their drinks spiked. In many cases, the drinks are spiked with alcohol.