Christmas 2020: Grinch thieves loot £4,000 of Christmas trees from Lothian garden centre

Around 70 Christmas trees - £4,000 worth of sales - were stolen from the independent business two nights ago.

Saturday, 28th November 2020, 11:57 am
Updated Saturday, 28th November 2020, 1:18 pm
The Largepole pine was completely wiped out in the theft which cost the garden centre £4,000.
The Largepole pine was completely wiped out in the theft which cost the garden centre £4,000.

The thieves stole around 70 large, medium and small trees ranging from Nordmann Firs to Norway Spruces from New Hopetoun Gardens in West Lothian.

One type of tree, the Lodgepole pine, was completely cleared out by the Grinch-like thieves on Thursday night.

The stolen trees make up around 10% of the stock with around 600-700 Christmas trees stocked by the garden centre in the Whitequarries Industrial Estate in Broxburn at this time of the year.

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This is the first time a large-scale theft has happened at the employee-owned business.

No pre-ordered trees were stolen but owners fear the theft will severely impact their business.

Morag Mcrae, a director at New Hopetoun, said: “It’s just awful. We’re a little independent who’s been kicked in the teeth this year and now we’re back in tier four so we’re lockdown again and we’re losing a lot of business anyway.

"Our Christmas trees are crucial to the sales at this time just keep us going.

"This is the next busy time after Spring so to lose that as well as the first two or three weeks of Christmas due to lockdown is just so unfair and then this happens.

"We’ve all worked really hard all year and money-wise it’s definitely going to make a difference and with turnover, we’re down about 80% this week already.”

Hopetoun Gardens is encouraging people not to buy their trees from pop-up stalls or from the back of the van as these are the sorts of places their stolen trees will be sold.

Based in West Lothian, the company has already lost a large customer base from South Queensferry, only five miles away, and the rest of Edinburgh due to lockdown travel restrictions.

After receiving positive engagement from a post they put on social media, the garden centre is hoping this will bring more business during a economically difficult period.

Police Scotland are currently making enquiries into the incident.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police are making enquiries following a report of a housebreaking at a garden centre in Whitequarries Industrial Estate in Broxburn.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland through 101, quoting incident number 0581 of Friday 27 November, 2020.”

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