There have been numerous instances over the last 12 months where golf buggies and/or their batteries have been stolen primarily from golf clubs in the UK.
In several instances, the golf buggies were stolen whilst the hirer was taking their shot on the course and also numerous instances where large quantities of batteries have been taken directly from golf buggies often causing extensive damage to them.
It is not completely clear as to why these thefts are occurring however, in the majority of cases it would appear that thieves are trying to remove the lead acid batteries. There is some dispute as to whether these are for re-sale, scrap or as a source of materials for other illegal schemes.
The use of golf buggies is not exclusive to golf clubs with many in use by schools using them to convey hot food around sites, hotels, nursing homes, large leisure complexes, hospitals, residential care homes, transit warehouses, airports, haulage companies etc. using them to convey linen and equipment. It is key that such vehicles and their batteries are kept in garages / secure stores built of materials offering a level of theft resistance with suitable physical and electronic security measures in place whilst not in use.
The key is that such vehicles are not left in the open, particularly on golf courses, out of hours and should wherever possible be secured within a solid masonry/theft resistant material built building. Where this is not possible either a secure temporary building/store such as a shipping container should be used. In all cases a high level of physical security should be provided along with remotely monitored alarm systems ideally with detection on doors, vibration detection to all perimeter walls and internal trap protection. However, it is more difficult to provide security advice for losses whilst the buggies are in use.
The following could prevent or reduce the likelihood of these types of losses occurring. (Please note that this list is nor exhaustive):
1. Make users aware of the issues being experienced with thefts of golf buggies
2. Keep buggies as short a distance from the player / hirer as possible during the game.
3. The easy removal of buggies by use of the keys is to be prevented by one or a combination of the following:
a. Many electric golf carts are typically pre-installed with keyed start switches straight from the factory and the keys for the carts are usually generic, which gives thieves an easy access to the golf carts. One way to prevent golf cart thefts is to contact a retailer who sells after-market switches and have your cart’s switches modified.
b. Keys to the buggies are to be removed from the ignition whenever the buggy is not being used
c. The keys to the buggies are to be secured in a lockable key safe / safe anchored to a wall / the floor, outside of usual business hours with the key to this safe removed from the premises whenever the premises is closed for business.
d. Alternatively, the key ignition system could be replaced with a numerical keypad device with access code changed following use.
4. Buggies awaiting hire which are held in the open should be positioned so that they are visible to staff / monitored by CCTV.
5. The fitting of speed limiters to only allow vehicles to travel at walking pace appear to have been successful in preventing / reducing the incidents of theft of buggies from the course.
6. GPS Trackers / Vehicle Telematics The fitting of these types of device as opposed to just a speed limiter provides additional benefits to just speed limitation
Adapted from original blog by Zurich Insider