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Hundreds of Christmas trees stolen from family firm that once supplied Harry and Meghan

Written by on 28/11/2020

A gang of thieves have helped themselves to some 300 Christmas trees from a family-run business – the night before it planned to reopen for the first time since lockdown began.

Three men backed a van up to the gate of the compound belonging to Pines & Needles in Wimbledon Park, London, and used the illumination from the site’s festive lights to break in and make off with their bounty.

Neighbours called the police and described watching the men “decimating” the Christmas stock, making several journeys with vans full of trees.

Pic taken from video footage of thieves stealing 300 Christmas trees from Pines& Needles in Wimbledon Park, London. Pic credit: Pines & Needles
Image: The gang used the festive lights to illuminate their theft

Company owner Josh Lyle said the theft, which happened on Tuesday night, came on top of business already being “hammered” by COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have been hammered already this year because of COVID and now, just as we were given the green light to sell to the public, a bunch of thieves decide to help themselves to more than £3,000-worth of stock,” he said.

“It’s sickening. Our job is to spread Christmas cheer to everyone in the UK, sending our trees far and wide, but this is a real kick in the teeth and we’re asking for people who may have information to come forward and notify the police.

“This was a pretty brazen act in a well-lit yard right at the Wimbledon Park Road entrance, so we are hoping they get their comeuppance.”

More from Christmas

Shops and stalls selling real Christmas trees were given special permission to reopen during the current lockdown, before other non-essential retail returns next week.

The government reclassified them as “essential retail”, meaning they have been able to operate alongside the likes of supermarkets since 21 November.

A spokesman for Pines & Needles said it had planned to open on Wednesday, the day after the trees were stolen.

Josh (left) and Sam Lyle who founded Pines and Needles Christmas store selling trees in London and the South East and supporting charities across the world. Pic credit: Pines and Needles
Image: Company owners Josh (left) and Sam Lyle say they are ‘sickened’ by the theft

Pines & Needles was founded by brothers Josh and Sam Lyle back in 1995 when they were aged just 15 and 13.

Together, they came up with the brainwave of loading an old horsebox with Christmas trees from their family farm in Scotland and taking the long journey down to London.

In 2016, the company hit the headlines for supplying a tree to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during the early months of the now-married couple’s relationship.

The company also has a long history of empowering workers usually based in third world countries and conflict zones during the year, by employing them to work over the Christmas season.

Last year, the Pines & Needles team and their customers raised more than £10,000 for a Cambodian social enterprise charity that provided jobs and full university scholarships for two teacher trainees.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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