N.B. Christmas tree farmers increase security measures following rise in thefts
Christmas tree farmers in New Brunswick are taking precautions to ensure thieves stay away for their busiest time of the year.
Farmer Patrick Potter says he’s seen in an increase in tipping, which is cutting the branch tips off of Christmas trees and using them to make wreaths.
"They're tipping from the middle down because the tips are a little longer there," Potter says.
Dozens of trees on his property have been damaged by tipping without permission.
"Those trees aren't marketable this year. If you wipe out 100 or 150 trees in a hurry, it's a lot of money down the drain," says Potter.
November is the busiest month on Maritime tree farms. Growers are filling orders from across Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.
"We have orders, we have customers who are expecting those trees and then when those trees get damaged, it can put us into a difficult situation," says Potter.
Fellow tree grower Wendell Rosborough told CTV News about similar issues he was having during the peak season last year.
And sadly, the problems extend beyond tipping.
"Chainsaws stolen, ATVs stolen, tractor parts stolen probably in the neighbourhood of $10,000 in the past couple of years," says Potter.
Potter’s tree farm is a long way from the nearest RCMP detachment, making it hard to monitor. He's taking matters into his own hands, installing motion-detecting video cameras.
"We have 14 trail cameras, like what hunters and sportsmen would use. We have those set up at the entrances in and out of the facilities," says Potter.
The cameras alone are costing thousands of dollars, but Potter says it's become a cost of doing business.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.