Outrage after Melbourne shop bans 'black' teens after confrontation

Mel Buttigieg

Melbourne convenience store owner says he was forced to put up a sign in his front window banning black youths from entering the store because they were "always stealing" from him.

The sign on the Melton store, west of the city, which was put up on Friday, said: "14-18 year old blacks and dogs" were prohibited to enter the shop "because the 14-18 year old black always steal" [sic].

It has caused an uproar online, with many social media users referring to it as "disgusting" and the Burleigh Road shop owner as "racist".

Melton resident, identified only as Cam, tweeted a photo of the controversial sign on Friday morning, sparking the debate.

A sign on a Melton milk bar banned black youths from entering. Picture: @funkycarbon

He told 3AW radio he couldn't believe what he'd seen.

"I don't think anyone in the Melton community would fancy this," he said.

"This is disgusting," tweeted one user.

Another person commented: "Don't blame them [the owner] at all," while another wrote the sign was "fair enough".

The shop owner told 7 News he was forced to put up the sign after a confrontation with a group of youths earlier on Friday.

He said it was an impulsive reaction to this morning's confrontation - one of about 20 similar incidents in the past two years.

He didn't anticipate the outrage it would generate.

"[Shoplifting happens] a lot of times," he said.

"Always black person... young boy, after playing soccer."

Seven News has found the sign, which has since been removed, was put up after CCTV captured a group of at least nine youths storming the milk bar, intimidating the owner and appearing to shoplift.

The confronting footage, recorded earlier today, shows the group of youths of African appearance entering the store one by one and spreading themselves throughout the shop.

From behind the register, the intimidated owner can be heard demanding them to leave their bags at the front of the shop, but he is ignored.

The young men are then ordered out of the shop but take no notice of the man, and instead appear to stuff their pockets with goods while they smile and laugh.

The desperate owner then comes face to face with the group, holding a golf club, but does nothing with it.

He attempts to take back some of his goods from the youths, but they appear to continue to take things from the shelves - some walking out with the items.

"Hit me, hit me," one youth eggs him on.

"I'm not hitting you, ok," the owner tells him.

"Don't touch this. Don't touch this. This is mine now," one of the youths tells the helpless man, who again asks them to leave his store.

A Victoria Police spokesperson has since said they "do not support the language of the poster", and called the message "inappropriate".