Crackdown on Christmas tree thieves

Gardai across the county have increased air patrols as they step up operation hurdle in a bid to prevent the theft of Christmas trees in the run-up to the festive period.

This year they also have the use of the air corps unit and they’re able to cover large tracts of land and spot any suspicious activity.

The majority of Christmas tree farms are in Wicklow and it is estimated that stolen trees can fetch up to €50 a piece during the holiday period.

Christmas tree growers have also put in place temporary security measures, including security personnel, motion detectors, and hidden cameras in a bid to prevent theft.

Operation Hurdle’, which is now in it’s fifth year, sees Gardai using air units to cover large areas of ground to try to spot potential tree thieves.

The operation was set up in 2011 after a Christmas tree grower was tied up in Roundwood and after the incident a group of farmers contacted Supt Paul Hogan, who is based at Wicklow Town Garda Station, demanding action.

It is estimated that the Christmas tree industry is worth about €21m to the Irish economy annually.

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