Vandals have struck at a golf course in the south of the Isle of Man carving swathes out of the greens and a bunker.
The damage happened at Castletown Golf Links late at night when two four-by-four type vehicles were driven off-road across the green by the fifth hole, known as the road hole.
The golf course manager Peter Vermeulen said the damage was only discovered the next day – Wednesday – when it was spotted by green keeper Mark Kitching.
When they went back and checked the CCTV footage they found the whole incident had been captured on film.
‘It happened last night at about 11.20pm. We saw them (on CCTV) pull up by the club house then head off and they were picked up again on CCTV. It looked to me at first as if they were looking to drive on to the 18th but were put off doing that so they went to the fifth instead.’
Mr Vermeulen said the vehicles could be seen driving across the grass and a bunker causing deep ruts in both as they performed donuts and slid the vehicles across the turf.
‘There’s going to be a lot of repair work involved in putting it right and winter is a bad time of the year for it to happen because the grass doesn’t grow. The cost could run to as much as £2,000 when you take account of the cost of man hours working on it, seed and fertiliser. In addition there could be lost revenue if people can’t play on it.’
The course has fallen victim to such vandalism a number of times in recent years, most recently earlier this year in January when damage was done to the same section of the course.
The vehicles are thought to be a Landrover and a Toyota, one with a bank of spotlights and one with a tow bar which has gauged deep scars in the ground as the vehicle has climbed out of the bunker.
Golf course employees were working to put the damage right as the Examiner went to press and Mr Vermeulen said that hole could be closed off for a time then players would have to play round the damage until the surface had recovered.
Former policeman Ged Power who now runs Isle of Man Golf Tours said it was one of the most beautiful courses in the British Isles.
‘It demonstrates the depths of inconsiderate behaviour that idiots in society will stoop to. I am confident any socially responsible person in the community who knows anything will step forward. People will recognise that a great golf course helps bring revenue to our shores.’
Mr Power said some courses in the UK had resorted to using concrete bollards where they bordered a road, to prevent vehicles causing damage. Anyone with information should contact police on 631212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.