Ter­rorised at the golf club

Play­ers in fear of knife-wield­ing youths

Daily Mail - - DR MAX - By Andrew Levy

LOOK­ING down the ver­dant fair­way as you tee off, play­ing a leisurely round of golf is one of life’s great­est plea­sures.

Of course, play­ers must be wary of the bunkers and ponds dot­ted along the green, where a way­ward ball may get stuck.

But for golfers on one course, there are haz­ards of a far more se­ri­ous type, driv­ing them – and even the staff – away.

Reg­u­lars at Cas­tle Point Golf Course in Es­sex have been ter­rorised by a se­ries of in­ci­dents in­clud­ing threats by youths with knives and metal poles.

Quad bikes and mo­tor­cy­cles have also been driven on to the course, churn­ing up the fair­ways and greens, and work­ers have been threat­ened.

The club­house has now been closed and a note in the win­dow warns vis­i­tors to play ‘at your own risk’. And fu­ri­ous golfers have ac­cused Es­sex Po­lice of leav­ing them ‘vul­ner­a­ble’ af­ter the force failed to act.

Barry Huntley, 59, of Can­vey Is­land, said: ‘It’s just not bloody good enough. We are quite vul­ner­a­ble when we are out there play­ing a round. Any one per­son on their own could have a con­fronta­tion with not just one guy but sev­eral youths. You get the older play­ers – what chance would they have? They just wouldn’t have a chance.

‘Po­lice say they have pri­or­i­ties but surely if staff are be­ing threat­ened – and quite se­ri­ous threats – then they need to act.’

A golfer was at­tacked last Thurs­day, he added, but he was ‘able to han­dle him­self as he’s a judo ex­pert’. And anti- so­cial prob­lems in­cluded staff be­ing ‘threat­ened quite se­ri­ously’.

An el­derly reg­u­lar re­vealed a friend had a knife pulled on him ear­lier this year. ‘He was on the tee. They were giv­ing it a bit of abuse so he went af­ter them to sort it out,’ he said. ‘One of them pulled a knife but the chap did not back down so they ran off.’

Re­tired BT en­gi­neer Dave White said: ‘You get the teenagers on the quad bikes rough­ing up the greens.’ The spike in in­ci­dents at the 18-hole course is the lat­est ex­am­ple of crim­i­nals be­ing al­lowed to rule the roost in Wild West Bri­tain.

Eigh­teen in­ci­dents have been re­ported to po­lice since Jan­uary last year, in­clud­ing nine this year alone. Only two ar­rests have been made and no one has been charged.

The clo­sure of the club­house means play­ers are no longer able to re­lax at the bar af­ter a round. The ab­sence of staff also means there is no one to col­lect the £20 course fee.

A no­tice out­side states: ‘Feel free to con­tinue to play golf at Cas­tle Point if you wish to do so. We do ad­vise that this is done so at your own risk.’

A spokesman for the course said: ‘ Glen­dale Golf, which leases the course from Cas­tle Point Coun­cil, said Es­sex Po­lice had told them the force could not tackle the prob­lem due to not hav­ing enough re­sources.’

A Glen­dale Golf spokesman ex­plained po­lice had been con­tacted ‘but the re­sponses have been sadly lack­ing in ac­tion’.

Es­sex Po­lice has shed more than 400 of­fi­cers and closed po­lice sta­tions to make cuts of around £70mil­lion since 2010.

A po­lice spokesman said: ‘We un­der­stand these in­ci­dents do have an im­pact. Un­for­tu­nately, there have been lim­ited in­ves­tiga­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties to iden­tify sus­pects. We pri­ori­tise our pa­trols based on where there is the great­est threat.’

On the course: Golfers Dave White (right) and Paul Estlea

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