Port Coogee Marina to get security beef-up after slew of break-ins

Port Coogee Marina pen holder Anton von Wielligh with Cockburn councillor Kevin Allen and pen holder Tony Merlino.
Port Coogee Marina pen holder Anton von Wielligh with Cockburn councillor Kevin Allen and pen holder Tony Merlino.

SECURITY will be beefed up at the Port Coogee Marina after boat break-ins over the past two months.

On at least three occasions thieves are believed to have entered the marina by boat before ransacking docked vessels and making away with goods worth thousands of dollars.

Among the stolen items have been generators, binoculars, fishing gear, fridge freezers, diving equipment and a range of electronics.

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The City of Cockburn is aware of nine boats that have been targeted but that figure is believed to be much higher, with many pen holders failing to report their missing items.

Anton von Wielligh, one of 145 licensed pen holders, said thieves had cherry-picked a canoe and a ski biscuit from his boat in recent weeks.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.

“When the cameras were installed I thought (security) was pretty good.

“But it’s very easy to get into this marina by boat and for them to take whatever they want.

“There’s no coverage on these walkways which to me is a big hole in the system.”

Pen holder Tony Merloni said he sought extra security after the first of two break-ins on his vessel.

“When I got done we said they’d be back. We felt like a soft target.

“We’re paying for a secure marina which is not secure,” he said.

“You’re never going to make it 100 per cent perfect but you have to do something because at the moment it’s not good enough, especially for the fees we pay.”

Cockburn’s engineering and works director Charles Sullivan said the City, which took control of the marina from Frasers Property in July, has a number of security measures in place including night-time security patrols, CCTV and Co-Safe scrutiny of the adjacent roads and public open space.

It is also introducing swipe card access to all of the marina’s gatehouses.

“Further security enhancements are being pursued,” he said.

In a newsletter to pen holders, the City said it was developing a long-term strategy to deal with the problem.

That strategy is likely to include extra security patrols, cameras and lighting.

“While the plan is being developed, a static guard will patrol the marina throughout the night,” the newsletter read.

Cockburn councillor Kevin Allen, himself a pen holder and theft victim, said the changes must be introduced quickly.

A police spokeswoman said Water Police were investigating three incidents where boats were damaged and items were stolen.

The cost is estimated at $18,000.

“Police will look at various lines of inquiry during the investigation, one of which is looking at the various way members of the public can access the marina,” she said.

Suspicious behaviour can be reported to police on  131 444.