Monday 16 July 2018

GAA club left 'baffled' after goalposts are stolen from grounds, used in mobile phone shop raid

Posts were used in a botched robbery at the Carphone Warehouse store, Drogheda
Posts were used in a botched robbery at the Carphone Warehouse store, Drogheda

John Savage

A GAA club is facing a hefty repair bill after a set of goalposts stolen from their grounds were used as a battering ram in an attempted raid at a mobile phone shop.

Officials from the Oliver Plunketts GAA club in Drogheda were left ‘baffled’ when the full-size posts disappeared from their main pitch last week.

On closer inspection it emerged they had been felled by an angle grinder in what initially appeared to be a very ‘elaborate act of vandalism’.

However, the posts turned up five days later at the nearby M1 Retail Park, where one of the uprights had been used as a battering ram in a botched robbery at the Carphone Warehouse store.

The thieves managed to gain access to the shop, but it’s believed they were unable to break into a ‘strong room’ at the rear of the premises.

Plunkett’s chairman Tomas O hEochaidh revealed that Gardai suspect the gang stowed the goalposts in a field between the club grounds and the retail park. The posts disappeared on Saturday night/Sunday morning, but weren’t used in the attempted burglary until the early hours of Thursday morning.

In the meantime, the Plunketts pitch was broken into again on the Wednesday night.

"The lock on the main gate was cut again on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning with bolt cutters and as far as we could make out from the tyre tracks, they drove in and around the pitch and back out again," Mr O hEochaidh explained.

"As far as we can tell nothing was taken on that occasion."

But the club is facing a big bill to repair the damaged goalposts.

"They were cut at the bottom and the crossbar was removed completely, so we’re looking at getting them re-joined and it looks like we’ll need a completely new crossbar. At the moment we’re looking at a repair cost of upwards of €2,000, which is a Lot of money."

The former Louth county board chairman revealed that the club was initially at a loss to explain why the posts had been stolen, as were the Gardai.

"We were completely baffled," he continued. "They wouldn’t have much scrap metal value and so it just looked like a very elaborate act of vandalism."

The club were due to play their first home match of the season last Sunday, but the game was brought forward to Saturday night and had to be moved to Darver.

"We won’t be able to play there for at least a couple of weeks, so that brings an added expense, and with the juvenile teams will be returning to action soon too," he added.

Drogheda Independent

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