Sunday 15 September 2019

WATCH: Thieves steal thousands of euro worth of equipment from Cork football club

Gabija Gataveckaite

DRAMATIC CCTV footage shows the moment that a football club in south-east Cork had thousands of euro of equipment stolen.

Thieves broke into the club's storage and stole equipment from Ringmahon Rovers Football Club, which is one of the biggest clubs in Cork.

That same night, Castleview AFC in the north of Cork also suffered a break in and equipment was stolen.

Officials of Ringmahon Rangers have been left "devastated" by the theft of two industrial lawnmowers and an airblower, which add up to €1,200.

CCTV footage shows a man taking a lawnmower out of a container at the club, before closing the doors and leaving.

However, this isn't the first time the club has been targeted.

"A couple of weeks ago our dug outs were smashed up, which were worth €2,000," said the club's secretary Sean Fitzgerald.

"And now this. It's terrible and never ending," he said.

"We can't really afford to replace it as all the money we make goes back into the club, by the time we pay out registration and league fees, there isn't much left," Mr Fitzgerald said.

Organisers believe that a small group of people are responsible.

"They're scumbags, they've always been around and have been at it for a long time. They've damaged fences, targeted other clubs.

"It's devastating as we're a community based club and it affects everyone," he added.

The club comprises of over 400 members and teams start at U5s and range all the way up to over 35s. The club also caters to female players and has programmes for disabled players.

"Parents are devastated and angry," Mr Fitzgerald added.

"People are getting away with it and there's not much else we can do as the gardaí are the first and last port of call."

He added that holding fundraisers to replace stolen equipment isn't an option for the club either.

"We hold fundraisers all the time as it is and we don't want to be taking money from the same pockets," he explained.

"When the dug outs were smashed up a business came forward and offered to do a deal with us to get new dig outs."

A garda spokesperson confirmed that property was stolen and investigations are ongoing.

However, Ringmahon Rovers weren't the only club affected last Saturday night.

Castleview AFC in Churchfield, north Cork, also suffered a break in and damage to property.

A strimmer worth €120 was stolen from a container attached to the clubhouse and significant damage was done to the locks of ride-on lawnmowers. The vandals also attempted and failed to start the lawnmowers, causing damage to their locks.

The incident hit a sore spot for the club, who were victims of €10,000 worth of damage to their grounds last October when equipment was smashed up and set fire to by binge drinking teenagers.

"It's soul destroying," treasurer Pat Cummins told Independent.ie.

"It hit a sore spot for the club because money is so hard to get. They broke in to see what they could take, they couldn't start the lawnmower or lift a 30litre tank of diesel so they didn't take them.

"It's souless because we're all trying our best.

"We're always worried they'll break in again," Mr Cummins added.

"We're scared that what happened last year will repeat again, and we're considering getting CCTV but in Ringmahon, they had CCTV but the men came in with their faces covered, so you don't know who they are.

"If they want to break in, they'll break in," he said.

However, Mr Cummins said that he doesn't think that it was the same thieves that broke into both clubs on Saturday night.

"They couldn't start the lawnmower so they left it and they didn't take the diesel tank, just left it by the lockers," he said.

The club is at the heart of the community and is home to 500 players.

"These vandals take away from the future of the players.

"People are angry and this mindless vandalism doesn't benefit anybody," he added.


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