CAPPAMORE bingo committee are braving the rain and cold every Thursday night to ensure the only winners are inside the hall.
They take it in turns to patrol the car-park following a spate of thefts from cars in Cappamore, Doon and Pallasgreen in recent months.
Vehicle windows were smashed and everything from handbags to mobile phones to an infant bag were stolen.
Gardai arrested a man in connection with five separate thefts in East Limerick last year.
He pleaded guilty and the judge asked for his suitability to be assessed for 120 hours of community service in lieu of three months in prison.
Over 350 descend on Cappamore Community Centre from all over Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Cork every Thursday.
Oliver Dillon, of the bingo committee, said they want their patrons to enjoy the social evening without worrying if their car is going to be broken into, damaged or robbed.
“It is sad that we have to man the car-park. It is an indictment of society, all it takes is one guy to cause havoc. The gardai can’t be everywhere.
“We have always been careful but we have taken it to a different level because of the break-ins that were occurring in outlying areas in recent times. There has been vandalism and cars broken into.
“We have a camera system in place which we are planning on upgrading too,” said Mr Dillon.
With 350 coming to Cappamore there are hundreds of cars to keep an eye on. Bingo starts at 8.30pm every Thursday and finishes around 10.30pm. Committee members take it in turns to watch the car-park over the four hours.
“There is always a visible presence. No one will pass up and down the road that won’t be seen,” said Mr Dillon.
The bingo committee of over 15 comes under the umbrella of the Cappamore Development Association (CDA). Bingo manager, Jerry Duggan; Tommy Ryan, PRO; Cllr Noel Gleeson and CDA chairman, Pat Fogarty and others take part.
They liaise with gardai and the squad car visits during the evening.
Bingo in Cappamore has been a fixture for 37 years in Cappamore and has helped fund many projects and development in the locality.
“It is one of the biggest bingo nights in County Limerick. We pay out around €2,800 every night and the lotto jackpot at the moment is over €5,000.
“All they have to do is break one window and it might affect that person coming again.
“They might have had a lovely evening meeting their friends but that would spoil the whole night. At least they don’t have to worry when they come here,” said Mr Dillon.
There hasn’t been as much as a car being scratched since they started their patrols and Mr Dillon says they intend to keep it that way.
“Volunteerism is alive and well in Cappamore,” sums up Mr Dillon.