Happier days... John Pidgeon with his parents aboard the pleasure cruiser before it was gutted by arsonists on Lough Carra.

Family's dismay over burnt cruiser on Mayo lake

THE loss of a pleasure cruiser which was burnt to cinders by arsonists while moored on Lough Carra earlier this month has been described by its owner as 'rotten blackguardism of the worst degree'.

Generations of the Pidgeon family, who live in Castlebar, have been enjoying idyllic summer days on the 18-foot cabin cruiser (Pacific 550) since 1995.

"This was more than a boat, more like a family member," a hugely despondent John Pidgeon told The Connaught Telegraph at the weekend.

"The extended family enjoyed countless delightful summer days on the boat since I bought it in 1995," John explained.

"We went for picnics on Church Island, watched beautiful sunsets and enjoyed flocks of starlings as they swooped low and soared high over the lake.

"Now the boat has been destroyed for no apparent reason. I am not right since it happened."

The remains of the boat after being set alight.

Earlier this month, the cruiser had been moored overnight near Carra’s Moorehall shore, hidden amongst offshore reeds so as not to attract the attention of criminals.

The theft of outboard engines from angling boats on the western lakes has been a regular occurrence in recent years.

John Pidgeon’s vessel, which he recently repainted, repaired and refurbished, was powered by a 600lb engine. The motor was undoubtedly the target of the criminals.

After towing the cabin cruiser to shallow water behind a rubber dinghy, the two-man gang failed in their attempt to loosen the engine from the vessel.

Possibly infuriated by their failure, they then torched the cruiser before making a quick exit from the area.

The dinghy used by the raiders is now in the possession of gardaí. It may provide some clues as to the identity of the culprits.

"I can’t see the reason for them (raiders) burning our boat," John Pidgeon lamented. "No property is safe now when you see what’s happening."

Asked to put a monetary value on his loss, John replied: "You can’t just put a value on something which has so many happy memories."

· If you have any information on this crime, please contact Castlebar Garda Station at (094) 9022222, or any garda station.