Over the last 18 months there has been a significant increase in the number of small outboard engines reported stolen to An Garda Síochána nationwide. Most of these engines are stolen while unattended at remote locations on the main Rivers and Lakes of Ireland.
A number of these engines have been recovered by Gardaí in the hands of local and in some cases foreign criminal gangs. These gangs appear to have a good working knowledge of engines and carry with them the necessary tools to remove the engines from their boats.
In some cases they are using boats to access Marinas and loading boat engines onto the boat making good their escape to another part of the Waterways.
The criminal gangs use vans or trailers to carry the stolen boat engines away. Some of these engines have been exported to Europe and beyond. This trend appears to be happening all over Western Europe.
One of the many problems Gardaí have encountered when engines have been recovered is trying to establish the owners.
Unfortunately, when some victims report their property stolen to the Gardai they cannot provide any unique serial number which can be recorded on the Database. This causes difficulties when an engine is recovered. e.g. Gardaí recovered a Yamaha outboard engine with a serial number still visible. However when the serial number was search on the stolen database there was no match. There were, however, over 100 Yamaha engines listed as stolen (described as Yamaha engine). The Gardai never found the owner.
If a unique serial number or other identifying feature is provided to the Gardaí by the owner(s) the property can be identified quickly and returned to its rightful owner. More importantly any suspects caught in possession of the stolen property can be prosecuted.
Garda advise to all owners of boat engines no matter what size is:
Take a note of the engine/serial number and keep it safe. In the event your property is stolen you can provide those details to the Gardaí.
Mark your boat engine with a unique serial number (for e.g. your d.o.b. 10122009). Fix an electronic chip on the engine. There are a number of Companies who can supply electronic chips at very reasonable prices. If possible lock and secure your engine in a lock up or shed. Do not leave it attached to the boat if at all possible.
Your local Crime Prevention Officer can assist with more detailed advice.
Gardai would appeal to members of the public to report any suspcicous activity, no matter how trivial, to local Gardai or the Garda Confidential no. 1800 666 111.