Hampshire Police Fight Xmas Tree Theft

Police in Hampshire have launched an operation to reduce Christmas tree thefts.

Operation Tinsel is being run after a number of thefts in the area last year including 49 Christmas trees from a nursery in Wickham, 50 from a compound in Fleet and 82 from a store in Sherfield-on-Lodden.

Officers will be visiting retailers to speak to them about security and offer crime prevention advice. They'll also be marking Christmas trees with Smart Water (which shows up under UV light) or other security marking products to help officers in tracking down the trees and link them to the shop, if they are stolen.

Police will be doing more patrols around Christmas tree plantations and retailers throughout the festive season.

Sergeant 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.  

Stolen trees can cost law abiding retailers hundreds of pounds and have a serious impact upon their businesses.  Some trees may be forensically or security marked, making it easier for police to trace them.  I would urge members of the community to ensure they are buying their trees from reputable retailers.''

If you have any information about the theft of Christmas trees should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101.