Heavily armed officers, including members of the Special Operations Group, Critical Incident Response team and the dog squad, have surrounded Westmeadows Tavern in the city’s north, where the men remain holed up inside.
“Police were called to Westmeadows following reports of a burglary in progress about 5am,” a statement from Victoria Police said.
“Investigators have been told that two offenders entered the Ardlie Street premises, possibly armed with firearms.”
— Izabella Staskowski (@IzaStaskowski) March 1, 2020
Just after 9am – four hours on from the initial reports of a burglary in progress, more tactical officers arrived at the scene to assist.
The area has been cordoned off and it’s not believed there is anyone else in the building.
Officers are attempting to negotiate with the men using a loudspeaker, asking them to answer the telephone inside the pub.
The pub is in proximity to a daycare centre and live footage from the scene earlier showed shocked parents being ushered away as they arrived to drop off their children.
The Herald Sun reports that the venue has been targeted by burglars a number of times in recent years.
Bruce Allan, a local who lives nearby, told the newspaper that he was shocked to wake to find police swarming the area.
“Initially, I thought it was a car accident or something but then I got told it was a siege in the pub. It’s pretty scary,” he said.
“My son used to work there up until a few months back. It was robbed twice while he was there. Its happened probably four or five times over the past few years. It’s usually the bottle shop but I don’t know what it is this time.”
“We ask that members of the public avoid the area,” police said.
More to come