Two golf courses reveal repeated cases of vandalism

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 17, 2021 11:10

Two golf clubs, one in Tyne and Wear and one in West Sussex, have revealed they have been under repeated attack by vandals lately.

Boldon Golf Club in Tyne and Wear says it was first targeted by vandals on December 12, when they broke in and stole an electric buggy.

The following night saw the attempted but failed theft of another buggy, because they were chased away by a member of staff.

December 14 saw vandals use bolt cutters to break into the golf club and buggies were smashed, causing considerable damage and leaving them unusable.

Manager of Boldon Golf Club, Steve Watkin, said: “We are devastated that the golf club has been targeted and the vandalism has left all our members outraged. The vandalism affects our senior and elderly members who rely on the buggies to enjoy their golf. To date the stolen buggy hasn’t been recovered and the others are away being repaired which will take some time.”

Vandals have broken into Boldon Golf Club three times so far this month. (This is not an image from the venue)

Northumbria Police have been informed about the vandalism and theft and are currently investigating the issue and have also increased police patrols around the area.

A spokesperson for the force said: “We are investigating a series of incidents linked to anti-social behaviour at Boldon Golf Club. In the past week we have received several reports of youths tampering and causing damage to golf buggies. Officers are working with the golf club and have increased police patrols in the area.”

Meanwhile, the manager of Littlehampton Golf Club in West Sussex has said groups of up to 70 youths are having meet-ups at the venue after hours, and are also causing problems, including damage to greens and the dropping of litter.

Sean Manning, 39, general manager, said: “Our greenkeepers would come in on a morning and up towards the corner of our golf course on our second hole, our fairway was littered with drinks bottles, rubbish, and drug paraphernalia. The World War One fort is also on our site and it is where the youths are coming in.

“On top of that, there was damage to our tees, damage to our greens, flags were stolen and snapped.

“When this first started, it cost the club between £500 and £600 to clean up the greens and to fix what had been damaged.”

He added: “The meet-ups started to happen weekly towards the end of summer. There was one time when it happened when there were members on site at a private party.

“These members tried to engage with them but they were verbally abused and threatened and it was really scary.

“This carried on for about five to six weeks.

“On November 19 it happened again. The damage was really bad and we’re now into thousands of pounds worth of damage to the course now, and not to mention again the waste left behind.

Large groups of youths have been leaving litter such as alcohol bottles on Littlehampton Golf Course’s grounds this year. (This is not an image from the venue)

“We did call the police when these incidents happened in summer, but they weren’t able to attend. We called them again when this most recent incident occurred.

“The police arrived and were met with about 50 to 70 youths. They called for back-up and when they arrived, they said there were too many people there for them to do anything.

“It’s almost like these youths are communicating with each other and planning a large gathering on our dunes and the golf course on purpose, it’s a planned event.

“Because I’m at a complete loss, I’ve got staff that are absolutely losing it because of the work that is involved and the damage to the course which they’ve spent years maintaining.

“My staff wake up at four in the morning and come to work in the freezing cold to look after our green. Some of these guys have been doing it for years and the course feels part of them – they have an ownership over it.

“They are coming to work and seeing these young kids just absolutely destroying the course, it is really demoralising.

“Take away the loss of money, we’ve got staff that are really demotivated, demoralised and hurt by these incidents to be honest. Our members are unhappy because they pay a lot of money for this course and it has been damaged.

“These incidents have had a massive effect on everyone at the club and something needs to be done about it.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: “We will be increasing proactive patrols in the area over the next few weeks in order to prevent and deter any further incidents of anti-social behaviour.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 17, 2021 11:10
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