A POLICE operation that stopped the theft of thousands of pounds worth of Christmas trees in East Dorset is being run again.

Nearly £5,000-worth of trees were stolen from garden centres and other outlets in the run-up to the festive season in 2010, and £3,446-worth in 2011. Last year there were no reported thefts after police launched Operation Pine.

Officers from the East Dorset Rural Safer neighbourhood Team introduced secret tracking equipment and DNA technology to trees and other Christmas-related items being sold in local garden centres and increased patrols in the area.

Due to the huge success of the operation PCSO Steve Willis is launching a fresh campaign this year, and has started working with tree sellers to mark stock to deter thieves.