Friday 20 September 2019

Watch: 'Demolition derbies' by teens in stolen golf buggies cause thousands in damages at golf club

Image from the CCTV at Enniscorthy Golf Club
Image from the CCTV at Enniscorthy Golf Club

Alan Sherry

Members of a Wexford golf club are furious as teenagers are stealing golf buggies and joyriding them around the course in “demolition derbies” causing thousands of euro damage.

There have been six incidents at Enniscorthy Golf Club since December and the club has released CCTV footage in a bid to identify the culprits.

The latest incident on April 5 saw youths take two buggies for joyrides on the course before crashing them into each other. 

The buggies belong to members of the club and have been damaged and there are fears the trend is spreading to other clubs after a Carlow club was also targeted.

Enniscorthy Golf Club Captain Tim Morrissey said the first incident happened in December.

“They tried to get buggies on the course the first night but failed. They came back again a second time and managed to get them on the course and they’ve done that each time they’ve come back. They’re basically young joyriders in golf buggies.

“We have a tee-box on hole six which has a two-foot drop. They have been driving off that. They ran out across the greens and into a bunker. They ran into a gate one night and out through a sheepwire fence which borders a neighbour's field another night. It’s basically demolition derby type stuff.”

CCTV footage of the most recent incident shows two individuals with hoods get into a buggy and smash it into bins and crates before reversing it out of view of the camera. They then drove it onto the course.

“They have come back five or six times. They have done considerable damage to buggies out on the course ramming into each other and crashing them into things. They’ve gone across a couple of greens. Luckily they haven’t caused too much damage to the greens but you could easily cause €2,000 or €3,000 to a green tearing it up.”

“The buggies themselves would be €3,000 or €4,000 to buy. One buggy owner was unfortunate enough to have it taken twice.”

After the first incident club officials found a large battery-powered lamp along with a “legalise cannabis” flag and a blue backpack given to parents after they leave a maternity hospital.

It is suspected the joyriding began after youngsters who had been lamping rabbits in the dead of night spotted the buggies and decided to try to take them.

Mr Morrissey said while the youths may have initially thought it was just a bit of fun the repeat incidents have made it more serious.

The club has installed new CCTV and floodlights to cover the area where buggies are kept. Many members have also removed their buggies from the premises while others have been locked up.

“They can’t really do a lot more now. The buggies which weren’t secured are gone and the three or four left are chained so they can’t be taken.”

Gardai from Enniscorthy are also now patrolling the club regularly in a bid to catch the buggy bandits.

The club are also hoping that putting the CCTV out there will deter the raiders from returning in case they’re recognised.

“We put the video out there and hope that they realise someone might now who they are and they won’t come back.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that youths targeted golf buggies in Borris Golf Club around 30km away on one of the same nights that Enniscorthy Golf Club was targeted.

It is unclear if the same people were involved or if word had gone around and started a trend.

Mr Morrissey said it was believed the youths targeting Enniscorthy arrived by foot so were unlikely to have travelled 30km away the same night to go to Borris.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Enniscorthy Garda Station at 0539242580 or Enniscorthy Golf Club club on 0539233191.

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