Following the recent theft of tens of thousands of euro worth of outboard motors, gardaí in Co Cork are advising boat-owners to remove the expensive machinery when their vessels are not in use.
They have also warned that a gang specialising in such thefts has changed tack, as during the past few years they only struck during the summer. “The winter thefts are a new departure and we believe they are being perpetrated at night,” said a Garda spokesman.
The most recent thefts occurred in the Cobh area and at Lough Hyne, near Skibbereen.
Outboard motors cost an average of €5,000 to €6,000, but some of those stolen recently are believed to be worth over €10,000.
It is believed that the gang, which have foreign connections, are smuggling them out of the country for re-sale on the continent. It is also believed they may be stealing them to order.
Gardaí fear the gang are going on a winter-time spree when they are less likely to be disturbed at marinas.
In most of the recent cases, the gang removed the outboards from boats on the water. However, in one case in the Cobh area, they removed the outboard engine from a boat which on land.
Sergeant Ian O’Callaghan, who is crime prevention officer for the West Cork area, said that boat-owners should remove the outboard engines when the vessel is not in use. “They should then store them in a shed or a garage which is alarmed,” he said.
He also said owners could fit their engines with small GPS coordinated tracking devices, which cost “a couple of hundred euro”.
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