Gardaí in Wicklow have commenced their annual Operation Hurdle to keep Christmas tree thefts at bay in the county, superintendent Declan McCarthy has told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Each year, gardaí in the Wicklow region inspect vehicles carrying trees and look for invoices to prove that the trees have been bought legitimately.

“If there is activity going on we liaise with the locals. Last year there was practically no trees found without invoices,” McCarthy said.

Christmas tree grower Christy Kavanagh from Co Wicklow commended the work being carried out by gardaí.

“It’s great to see old-style policing going on again. It’s good for our business, but also great for the rural community and farmers in the area.

“It means we can sleep more comfortably in our beds at night. The air support unit are out too and when they’re going around, there’s no running from them. The knock-on effect it has had on the whole community here is brilliant,” Kavanagh concluded.