A Grinch has stolen a Christmas tree from Sidmouth on the same day unique handmade decorations were pinched.
Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce this month gave the town the gift of nine Christmas trees, costing around £750, from the proceeds of September’s classic car show.
A fortnight after the Christmas trees arrived, chamber members noticed an East Street one was missing.
The illuminated trees, each costing £70, were secured to posts by cable ties, meaning the thief cut through straps to carry it away.
Each tree also carried a distinctive greetings tag, identifying it as a gift from the chamber of commerce.
Sylvia Brownlee, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce secretary, said the tree theft fell on the same day as a bag of unique handmade Christmas decorations were stolen from a business in Sidmouth.
She said she believed the culprit was responsible for both thefts, but was keen to lay the blame firmly away from Sidmouth’s community.
Sylvia believes the tree was taken by an opportunist thief passing through Sidmouth, with the intention of selling it on.
She has spoken to local police about the theft.
“It’s really sad. It was stunning,” said Sylvia. “I never thought it was someone from our wonderful Sidmouth community. I think it was probably someone passing through.
“It was a six-foot tree. They wouldn’t have been able to fit it in a normal car. It must have been a lorry. They were attached on with a cable tie so they would have to cut through that.
“The more I think about it, I think someone stole it to sell it. It must have been a common thief.
“We have had lots of thanks for the trees, how lovely they are, and how much they are being enjoyed by everybody.”
The chamber of commerce broke the news of the tree theft through social media, writing:
“We have had loads of thanks from our wonderful Sidmouth community who commented that the trees helped light up Sidmouth even more.
“Perhaps the thief will display our Seasons Greetings card when he gets the tree home so that everyone knows where it has come from.
“The whole enterprise of nine trees cost us £70 for each tree including lights and a lot of time and effort – not least in raising the money in the first place as funnily enough money does not grow on trees. How sad we feel.”
The Christmas trees were a gift to Sidmouth from the chamber of commerce after members decided to use funds raised by the classic car show in the community.
The collection of trees – a first for Sidmouth – were placed around the town and at the exits of the Ham car park at the start of December.
The chamber of commerce bought the trees from Combe Garden Centre, in Honiton.
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