A gang of real-life thieving Grinches have struck again at Baytree Nurseries, sawing off about 30 Christmas trees worth up to £1,000.
Just a year after 20 Nordmann fir trees were cut down and stolen from a field near the Weston-based garden centre, thieves help themselves to the same variety of Christmas trees at the weekend.
The theft happened despite steps taken by Baytree Nurseries owner Reinhard Biehler to prevent a repeat of last year’s sabotaging of the season of goodwill.
Mr Biehler said: “It’s absolutely terrible because we were hoping that, after last year, they wouldn’t come back.
“But they’ve done the same thing again and gone for the naturally grown trees which take about eight or ten years to mature.
“We always look at the long-term picture but this latest theft does mean that we’ll have to import more Christmas trees in from Denmark.
“In the meantime, the thieves will sell on what were our special trees for half price which just isn’t right.”
Mr Biehler claimed that thieves got round a blockade of the field where the trees were growing, put up by Baytree staff after last year’s festive raid, before using a chainsaw to cut down the trees, then load them into a lorry or van and drive off.
“The trees were in a field behind some bushes so that they couldn’t be seen from the road,” Mr Biehler said.
“But the thieves came with a chainsaw and took down about 30 of the best trees which are worth about £1,000. We know they were taken on Saturday night or early Sunday morning because we could see all the tyre marks when we arrived at the field.”
Baytree staff have now been ordered to spray their remaining Christmas trees with a special red coating so they can be traced back in the event of any more thefts.
“We buy a number of our Christmas trees from Denmark, but a lot of our customers prefer to buy trees grown here,” Mr Biehler said.
“So to try and stop any more of our trees being stolen, we have now sprayed all of them with a red solution which means that we’ll be able to tell if any that go on the market are ours.”
Baytree Nurseries is offering a reward of £100 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves and anyone with information should call 101, quoting incident 226 of December 8.