200 Xmas trees stolen
SCROOGE thieves have stolen a staggering 200 Christmas trees worth thousands of pounds from a farm shop.
The callous crooks broke into a compound at Roberts Farm Shop near Kingswinford, Staffs, and dragged the trees across fields to a nearby road where they loaded them onto a vehicle and drove off.
Police said today/yesterday (TUE) the trees, which were of various sizes and varieties, had a sale value of more than GBP4,500.
Detectives believe the raiders would have needed a large van or lorry to take away the trees due to the large number that were taken.
They are now asking witnesses or anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour near the farm shop to get in touch.
They are also appealing for people to be on their guard as they believe the thieves may try to sell the trees on.
Farm manager Matthew Roberts said security at the site has now been stepped up and a nightwatchman has been installed to deter thieves from coming back for more trees.
“It’s a lot of money to lose. It’s left us short and we’ve had to order more trees to make sure we have enough.
“It looks like they dragged the trees through one of our fields and loaded them onto a lorry or a large van,” he said.
It is believed the thieves broke into the site at around 1am on Sunday.
Pc Ian Fortey, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Around 200 Christmas trees of various sizes and types were taken.
"A lorry or other type of large vehicle would have been needed to transport the trees which would have taken some time to drag across the field and load.
“We want to speak to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity or vehicles on Saturday night. We’re also keen to speak to people who may have been offered the trees for sale.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
Thefts of Christmas trees have been reported in other parts of the country. Last week a spate of thefts from garden centres in Hampshire was reported while trees have also been taken from sites in Maidenhead.
Last year thieves chopped down 12 Christmas trees, worth around GBP500, from a field at Harvington near Kidderminster.
Police said similar incidents are reported in rural areas around Wyre Forest every year and warned that chopping down or digging up trees is theft, and anyone caught doing so will be dealt with accordingly.
It is also a crime to dig up or cut down Christmas trees from farms and other commercial sites where they are grown for sale.