Four tree-nappers arrested

23:55, Dec 12 2013

Four young men have been arrested and charged in connection with Waitara's kidnapped Christmas tree case.

The 3.5 metre tree was chopped down and stolen from Santa's Choice Christmas Tress at Cedar Lodge Nurseries on Egmont Rd in Bell Block on Sunday night.

A few hours later security cameras in Waitara recorded footage of the tree cowering on the back of a white Ford Courier ute driving around a roundabout in the town. 

The tree was later found dumped on the same roundabout.  Yesterday Waitara Constable Trenton Hoeta said four young men had been arrested in relation to the theft and he was not looking for anyone else. The four will appear in New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday.

Mr Hoeta said he had also located the ute.

''However it has changed colour as a result of featuring in the Daily News,'' he said.

The silver lining to the crime was Cedar Lodge Nurseries donated the stolen tree to Waitara. It is to be decorated and set up outside the post office in time for tomorrow's Christmas Parade.

Before being chopped down the tree had been bound for New Plymouth Christmas in the Bowl 2014 event.

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