Garda checkpoints coming to town to catch Christmas tree thieves

ireland
A general view of a Christmas Trees inside a CHQ Dublin, just a week ahead of Christmas. On Sunday, 17 December 2017, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Vivienne Clarke

Garda superintendent Declan McCarthy has told of how Garda checkpoints along with air support and armed support units will be used to help foil Christmas tree thieves.

“People seem determined to celebrate Christmas this year, we hope we can play our part in that,” he told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

Operation Hurdle, which has been operating seasonally since 2012, works in conjunction with local growers and the Irish Christmas Tree Association, he explained.

GPS data of the location of Christmas tree farms is shared with the Garda’s air support units and armed units so they can monitor activity while checkpoints will also act as a deterrent, he said.

In the past trees were illegally harvested at night time and then transported during the day. Initially “they were very well-organised” but the success of Operation Hurdle has meant that the scale of thefts has been lower than in the past.

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Supt. McCarthy said that he hoped the operation would be effective and would reduce the number of thefts to negligible figures. He urged the public to use only known or reliable Christmas tree sellers.

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