Garda air support on hand in fight against Christmas tree theft
The Garda Síochána Air Support unit will liaise with members of An Garda Síochána on the ground in tackling the theft of trees from Christmas tree farms in the east of the country on the run-up to the festive period.
A special seasonal operation, Operation Hurdle, was set up to prevent the theft of Christmas trees in the Wicklow Garda Division, a spokesperson for An Garda Síochána explained to AgriLand.
“The operation is underway in a bid to prevent the theft of Christmas trees from Christmas tree farms in the area.
Further to this, the Garda Air support unit is proactively engaged in numerous policing operations including Operation Hurdle.
“The air support will liaise with ground Gardaí who will be carrying out patrols and checkpoints,” the Garda spokesperson concluded.
The issue of Christmas tree theft was been a considerable problem for growers on the lead-up to Christmas in recent years.
The problem led to a number of Christmas tree growers in Co. Wicklow sleeping out in caravans near their crop to protect them from thieves back in 2015.
At the time, tree growers said that they were losing about 200 trees a year to theft.
Operation Hurdle has been running since 2011 and in recent years has dramatically driven down tree thefts in Co. Wicklow, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.