Southern clubs hit by spate of trophy thefts12th October, 2012 by Alistair Dunsmuir
Golf clubs in Surrey and Sussex need to be ‘on their guard’ as valuable trophies and other silverware have been stolen from several venues in identical attacks in the last few days.
It is believed that Farnham Golf Club in Surrey was the first hit. On a Tuesday evening in early October, thieves broke in and took 19 trophies and cups. One of the items alone, the Silver Frigate Trophy – the 116-year-old club’s emblem – has been valued at £100,000.
It is now thought that this was just one of several incidents that took place over the course of about 72 hours, with reports of raids at West Sussex Golf Club and Hindhead Golf club in Surrey.
Keith Lloyd, chief executive of the Golf Club Managers’ Association (GCMA), said: “We have been advised of several thefts of trophies and silverware from golf clubs in the Surrey and Sussex areas.
“These thefts took place during the last two or three nights, and apparently involved three individuals in hoodies, taking less than 90 seconds to remove everything – one would assume the club had been ‘cased’ beforehand.
“All GCMA members are advised to be on their guard therefore, and, whilst moving existing silverware may be either impractical or very inconvenient, at least you, and your club staff, are warned to be extra vigilant.”
Grahame Cowlishaw, secretary of Farnham Golf Club, said he was “devastated” by the theft, which took place at 20.45.
“I’ve been here 30 years, 25 years as the pro. There’s a lot of me here,” he said.
“You feel like they’ve taken something out of your house because it’s part of the club; you feel devastated. It’s history and you’re not going to get that back.”
Hooded and masked burglars were captured on CCTV removing a patio door and smashing a glass cabinet.
A number of British golf clubs have suffered trophy thefts in recent weeks.
In August, Branshaw Golf Club in Yorkshire had 12 trophies – which were later recovered – stolen, while last month Seaford Golf Club had 20 trophies taken, which were later found destroyed in a burnt out car. Windlesham and Laleham golf clubs, both in Surrey, have also been hit.
“You may also recall that Bamburgh Golf Club on the north east coast suffered the loss of all their silverware similarly earlier this year, and whilst an individual was arrested and charged, the merchandise was never recovered,” added Keith.