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Woolies' January 26-related vandalism sparks police investigation in Brisbane

Jarred Cross -

A crime scene had been declared and police have launched an appeal for information after a Brisbane Woolworths store was vandalised following the supermarket group's move not to stock Australia Day-theme merchandise.

Emergency services were called to the scene at the Woolworths Metro store on Commercial Road in the inner suburb Teneriffe at around 5:10 am on Monday morning.

The store was spray painted with the message "5 days 26 Jan Aussie Oi Oi Woolies F*** U", with a second message, "Boycott Woolies", written on the store's front doors.

CCTV footage appears to show the vandal covering his face with clothing whilst quickly writing the message before lighting the flare and running away from the scene.

A jogger in the vicinity witnessed part of the incident.

It is understood the shop remained closed for a brief time on Monday morning before reopening, with staff quickly acting to clean off the messages.

The front of the store was spray painted with the message "Boycott Woolies". (Image: Stuart Bryce/ABC News)

The incident comes following Woolworths Group's announcement they will not stock any merchandise related to the public holiday in their supermarkets or BIG W in 2024.

It launched a heated debate in public domain with backlash and discussion on either side flooding social media.

The news prompted opposition leader Peter Dutton to issue a plea for consumers to "boycott" Woolies for what he described as an "outrage".

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine fell short of echoing Mr Dutton's call, but was similarly critical.

Aldi joined Woolworths in making a similar announcement.

Police gather outside the Woolworths Metro store on Monday. (Image: Stuart Bryce/ABC News)

Kmart announced they would not stock themed merchandise in the lead up to January 26 last year.

On the Brisbane incident, a Woolies spokesperson said "There's no reason for vandalism".

"Thankfully no team members or customers were injured as this occurred before the store opened. We're grateful to the police and fire brigade who attended. There's no reason for vandalism and we'll continue to liaise with Queensland Police," they said.

On Monday, Anthony Albanese quizzed Mr Dutton on his stance regarding Woolies' decision.

"Last week, his big statement was to call for a boycott of Woolworths, as well as I assume Aldi and Kmart," the Prime Minister told ABC Radio.

"They employ over 200,000 Australians. He needs to explain whether that boycott is forever, or whether it's just until Australia Day, and what the impact of those people who work for these companies will be."

Queensland Police are investigating the incident in Brisbane with a crime scene declared.

They have also appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Crimestoppers - 1800 333 000

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