Golf club burglars jailed after GCM appeal
Two golf club burglars who stole more than £750,000-worth of equipment from the lockers of more than 60 golf clubs in 17 counties have been jailed for a total of eight years.
They only stopped their crime spree after an article appeared in Golf Club Management (GCM) in 2009 warning all UK clubs to be vigilant – until then different police forces had failed to realise that it was a national problem.
Until the article, written by Martyn Senior, the manager of one of the targeted clubs, Hesketh in Lancashire, appeared, the golf industry knew little about the crimes, which is one of the main reasons why the criminals had been able to get away with so many thefts.
Several affected golf clubs then contacted each other, which meant that neighbouring police forces were alerted and CCTV from one raid – at Dainton Park Golf Club in Devon – which showed the pair leave and re-enter the clubhouse several times, on each occasion carrying out golf clubs worth thousands of pounds, was distributed to golf clubs and the national media.
The main vehicle used in the robberies, a Chrysler Grand Voyager, which was registered to an address linked to one of the robbers, was then sold and the burglaries stopped.
However, the culprits, Daniel Lloyd, now 43, and Joe McCaughey, now 26, were only caught because an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into a corrupt lawyer found that he was an associate of Lloyd.
The police then searched Lloyd’s computer and found articles about picking locks, locker security and research into the golf clubs that had been burgled.
The duo had posed as golfers and entered changing rooms before taking golf clubs and other belongings. The equipment was usually sold to foreign buyers.
It is thought they stole from more than 1,000 lockers and even raided some golf clubs more than once – including at least one that they stole from twice on the same day.
They, for example, raided Ormskirk Golf Club on September 1, 2009 where they entered the male dressing room, while dressed in golf attire and raided three lockers, stealing golf equipment, and then entered the drying area where they stole a full set of golf clubs, in total worth £3,500.
A few days later they stole from Royal Birkdale Golf Club.
Steve Baldwin, NCA head of regional investigations, said: “These men were professional burglars who tried to mask their identities by avoiding CCTV cameras, changing their clothes to enter the same clubs over and over again, and using false number plates on their vehicles.
“We proved they had stolen equipment from hundreds of golfers, which they disposed of here and overseas. Our focus is now the financial side of the investigation and stripping them of their assets.”
Lloyd, who used the proceeds to fund a lavish lifestyle, has been sentenced to five years at Birmingham Crown Court. McCaughey to three.