Hampshire & Isle of Wight

North Hampshire Christmas tree thieves targeted by police

Christmas trees will be security marked to stop thieves stealing them after a spate of thefts last year.

Operation Tinsel will also include extra police patrols around plantations and tree retailers.

Silversprings Nursery and Garden Centre, in Fareham, Hampshire, had about 100 Christmas trees stolen from it last year.

In 2011, trees were also stolen from sites in Sherfield-on-Lodden, Wickham and Fleet.

'Community suffered'

Kim Stockley, from Silversprings, said: "It's about time something was done.

"We lost about £5,000-worth of trees and it had a massive affect on business.

"The trees were destined for schools and community centres in the area and had we not managed to source replacement trees, it would have been the community that would have suffered the most."

The garden centre has since installed more lighting and CCTV cameras.

Sgt Ally Hibberd, said: "Due to the recent mixed climate across Europe there will be a decrease in the number of Christmas trees available for sale on the open market.

"The reduced supply may result in thefts of Christmas trees as offenders will see this as an opportunity to meet the seasonal demand."

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