Garda checkpoints to be aimed at combatting Christmas tree theft
Operation Hurdle, in operation seasonally since 2012, recommenced on Monday
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.
Gardaí will be conducting checkpoints and will be assisted by air support units in order to combat Christmas tree theft.
Operation Hurdle, which has been operating seasonally since 2012, recommenced on Monday and is aimed at preventing the theft of Christmas trees in the Wicklow Garda division.
“The Garda Air Support Unit will engage in this operation and gardaí will also be conducting patrols and checkpoints,” a Garda spokesman said.
Garda superintendent Declan McCarthy said Operation Hurdle works in conjunction with local growers and the Irish Christmas Tree Association.
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 told RTÉ radio’s News at One on Monday.
Supt McCarthy 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, he said.
Supt McCarthy said that he hoped the operation would be effective and reduce the number of thefts to negligible figures. He urged the public to use only known or reliable Christmas tree sellers.
“People seem determined to celebrate Christmas this year, we hope we can play our part in that,” he added.