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Echidna loose and on the juice in Kyogle bottle shop

Choc horror in crime spike in rural NSW

by Susanna Freymark, 07/21/2021, 2 min read

ONE echidna. One night. Locked in a bottle shop. What could possibly go wrong?

When Brian Watson-Bell came to open up BWS in Kyogle on Friday morning, he encountered bottles strewn across the floor.

“I thought we’d been robbed – or there had been an earthquake,” Brian said.

“There were cartons of beer all over the place.”

A bottle of chocolate Baileys had been smashed and its sweet liquor trailed down the aisle.

“Whoever it was, had expensive taste.”

Could it have been a rat? Brian phoned his manager Ricky Talbot to tell him about the mess.

Brian found out the sensors had gone off in the middle of the night.

The sensors alerted security who came and did a drive-by of the BWS shop, saw nothing of the carnage at ground level and went on their way.

While cleaning up the broken glass, Brian smelt the culprit.

CLEANUP CREW: BWS staff Donna Stella, Ricky Talbot and Brian Watson-Bell had to deal with a prickly customer on Friday. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Hidden behind the rows of champagne bottles, was the “vile-smelling” but cute echidna.

“He was sleeping it off in the corner,” Brian said.

The staff nicknamed the hungover echidna Bully and called Wires animal rescue who confirmed it was a male.

It wasn’t until the security footage was viewed later that day that the antics of Bully on the loose were witnessed.

The footage showed the echidna coming in through the doorway, ignoring the covid check-in and heading straight to the vodka shelves where he remained out of sight until the shop closed.

Bully passed his physical test with Wires and BWS staff were invited to the release of the recovered echidna that night.

“I’ve been nicknamed Crikey Brian, and I'm thinking of opening my own native animal sanctuary after our echidna encounter today,” Brian said.

“I’m sure Bully had a good sleep although he might have woken up a little drowsy after his vodka and Baileys cocktail.”

Bully the echidna who has his own rewards card now for BWS. Photo: Wires