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Officers in Verwood are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after reports that Christmas trees have been stolen from garden centres in East Dorset with one man being arrested – and holly wreaths stolen from Verwood cemetery.
During the last week five garden centres in the area have reported that a large number of trees were allegedly stolen during the night hours.
The garden centres affected were Cranborne Garden Centre, Stewardts in Holt, Pamphill Dairy Farm, Golden Acres at Parley and John Brown Garden Centre in Three Legged Cross.
On Tuesday morning, Dorset Police received information from a member of the public which lead to officers attending a local farm where 200 trees were found.
A 64-year-old local man was arrested and released on bail while enquiries continue.
Police Sergeant Richard Partridge, from Verwood Safer Neighbourhood Team, said:
"I would like to hear from anybody else who believes that their trees have gone missing.
"I would also urge any businesses, selling trees in the run up to Christmas that would like crime prevention advice, to contact their Safer Neighbourhood Team as additional security measures should be considered to prevent such thefts."
Between 10 and 12 December six holly wreaths were stolen from graves at Verwood cemetery.
Sergeant Partridge continued:
"This has naturally caused great distress to the grieving relatives and friends who lay these wreaths.
"We take these crimes very seriously and fully appreciate the impact that such offences have on the community and we will be providing additional patrols in the area.
"Anybody who witnessed the incidents or noticed anything suspicious in the cemetery throughout last week should contact me."
Witnesses and anyone with information should contact Dorset Police in confidence on 01202 or 01305 222 222 or the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.