Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Burglars target lifeguard post as Police clamp down on crime sprees

Burglars targeted the lifeguard posts at all four of Gibraltar’s beaches last weekend and stole two outboard engines used to power rescue dinghies.

The break-ins came as the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) announced that officers had made further arrests in connection to a separate spate of burglaries in the town area and the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.

A number of homes were searched and property seized, with three juveniles detained last Friday.

But yesterday’s announcement on the successful police response to the recent crime spree was marred by news of the weekend’s beach incidents.

On Saturday burglars were unsuccessful in trying to break in to the lifeguard post at Eastern Beach but nonetheless managed to enter the one at Sandy Bay, making off with the first of the two outboard engines.

On Sunday they broke in to the lifeguard post at Catalan Bay and stole the second engine, while also ransacking the post at Camp Bay on the west side of the Rock.

“They made a clean sweep,” said one official at the Gibraltar Tourist Board (GTB), which is responsible for the lifeguard services.

The beach break-ins were just the latest in a long list of burglaries that are currently being investigated by officers from the RGP’s Criminal Investigation Department.

Many of the incidents have involved sites operated by the GTB, most of them in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, but private businesses have also been targeted.

The three juveniles arrested last Friday were apprehended as part of Operation Donegal, which was launched by the CID in response to the burglaries. All three juveniles are male and local.

In a statement, the RGP said:

“Numerous search warrants were executed at private residences resulting in the seizure of property connected to the recent spate of burglaries.

A total of fourteen burglaries have been detected. They include two burglaries at Jews Gate, two at the World War II café, three at the Great Siege Tunnels, two at St Michael’s cabin ticket office, one at the Tower of Homage and two at the Greenarc site, as well as one attempted burglary at the Boat Owners Club (Camber) and another at an unnamed jewellers’ shop.

CID officers will continue with their investigations and further arrests are envisaged."

In a related development, another juvenile has been charged with four counts of burglary at Nazareth House, the Cable Car Top Station, Navas Furniture Shop and Sacred Heart School, as well as one count of attempted burglary at Carters Stores.

The juvenile is currently on police bail and due to appear before the Juvenile Court.

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