Wednesday 26 September 2018

Teen took stolen €150k yacht on a joyride before fleeing on beach


The yacht the boy beached on a sandbank
The yacht the boy beached on a sandbank

A teenager at the helm of a stolen €150,000 luxury yacht ignored demands to bring it to shore when confronted off the coast of Greystones and later ran it aground on a beach and tried to escape.

The youth, who was said to have obvious nautical experience, powered the boat out of Greystones Harbour when he spotted gardai waiting for him.

He then drove it up the east coast before beaching it on a sandbank.

Sunday's incident began at 5.30am at Dun Laoghaire harbour when the youth, who was with another young male and a girl under the age of 18, took the 40ft Fairline cruiser from a service marina where it was locked and chained to a berth.

The trio then made their way down the east coast.

"Because of the type of boat it is I first thought it was stolen to order," Gerard Salmon, managing director of MGM Boats, told the Herald.

"It's not a boat you just jump onto and turn the key. There are several procedures you have to go through with pumps and things so we know that whoever took it knew about boats.

"Using fuel records and sea charts we started to project how far they could have gone and one of the first things we did was alert marinas in Wales in case it turned up there.

"We had already alerted gardai, the coastguard, and marinas up and down the coast and I contacted Alan Corr, the Harbourmaster in Greystones, and he was a great help.


"When I arrived in Greystones I got into his boat with him, and as we were leaving the harbour we couldn't believe it when we saw the boat coming towards us.

"We rang the gardai and told them, and didn't indicate to the people on the boat that there was anything wrong. When they saw the gardai and the coastguard waiting they turned the boat back out to sea again.

"As they passed I shouted to bring the boat in because it wasn't theirs and the guy at the wheel acted like he didn't care. There was no panic on board at all, it was surreal," he added.

The thieves made several attempts to beach the vessel before they finally ran aground near South Beach, Greystones shortly after 3pm.

"We followed them up the coast and then he turned towards a beach and ran it carefully onto the shore leaving the nose of it on the sand and the back of it in the deeper water," Mr Salmon added.

"Then they tried to run for it but with the garda helicopter above them it was going to be very difficult to escape," he said.

The trio were arrested and brought to Bray Garda Station for questioning. One of the young men and the young woman were later released without charge with a file to go to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The third youth was continuing to be questioned by officers last night. The boat was later transported back to Dun Laoghaire for inspection.

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