LIFE SAVER The Yamaha engine and GPS unit, worth approximately €10,000, which was stolen last week from the Corrib Mask Search and Rescue unit’s new Zodiac boat.
Gardaí believe theft took place between September 17 and 19
GARDAÍ investigating the theft of an outboard engine and a GPS unit from a Lough Mask search-and-rescue boat have described the theft as a ‘scurrilous act’.
The Yamaha engine and GPS unit, worth approximately €10,000, were attached to the Corrib Mask Search and Rescue unit’s new Zodiac boat, which had been parked on the grounds of Ashford Castle near Cong between September 12 and 19.
Superintendent Joe McKenna described the theft as a ‘scurrilous act’, as it was clear that whoever stole the equipment knew they were stealing from a rescue boat.
“This was a search-and-rescue vessel used to save lives and help people, and it is a scurrilous act for someone to cut the cables of the engine and steal lifesaving equipment. The vessel was parked beside the search-and-rescue ambulance and jeep used to tow it. The Corrib Mask Search and Rescue works closely with the Irish Coast Guard and other state agencies and for anyone to do this is very hard to comprehend,” he said.
The vessel was parked at the location since September 12 but gardaí believe that the actual theft took place between September 17 and 19. Supt McKenna said the engine was hidden from view and so he believes that whoever took it would have scoped the boat beforehand.
“To see the engine you would have to go right up to the boat to have a good look at what was in it. We are looking to speak to anyone who may have noticed anyone acting suspiciously around the boat in the days between September 12 and 19. We believe that whoever took the engine had been around the boat in the days beforehand,” he said.
A number of thefts of outboard engines in Mayo have been linked to Eastern European gangs who ship them to sell in Eastern Europe. Supt McKenna said that while engines stolen in Ireland have been recovered in Europe, it is too early to say who is responsible as there were ‘plenty of homegrown criminals’ capable of the theft.
A smaller Yamaha engine was stolen from Murrisk Pier between midday on September 16 and September 17 but the Gardaí could not say whether the two crimes are connected.
The Corrib Mask Search and Rescue unit are a voluntary organisation and operate under the umbrella of the Irish Coast Guard, Irish Water Safety and the Irish Red Cross. In a statement on its Facebook page, the group said its members are devastated by the theft and were still coming to terms with what happened.
“The fact that people could carry out such a crime and not realise or care about the consequences it could have, is very hard to contemplate. We will do our upmost to get the boat back on the water as soon as possible and we will keep everyone posted when we get more information,” the statement read.
Anyone with any information on the theft is asked to contact Claremorris Garda Station on 094 9372080.