Four charged over theft of Santa's tree

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013

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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 Trees at Cedar Lodge Nurseries on Egmont Rd in Bell Block on Sunday night.

A few hours later security cameras in Waitara recorded the tree 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 that Cedar Lodge Nurseries donated the stolen tree to Waitara.

It is to be decorated and set up outside the post office in time for today's Christmas Parade.

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

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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