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Moncton couple upset after witnessing people cutting holiday decoration branches in local park

Click to play video: 'City of Moncton says cutting down trees for Christmas from parks is theft' City of Moncton says cutting down trees for Christmas from parks is theft
WATCH: The city of Moncton is keeping a close eye on its parks after recent reports that people are cutting down trees for Christmas decor. But as Shelley Steeves reports, the city says that’s theft and could lead to criminal charges – Nov 24, 2020

A Moncton couple is upset after they said they witnessed people cutting tree limbs, branches, and samplings in a nature park to use in Christmas decorations.

“An individual with cutters — loppers basically — out in the open with no hesitation just reaches down and just chomp,” said Margaret Edmunds who walks in the park with her husband every day.

“They are not just taking boughs and stuff they are taking little future trees,” said Danny Edmunds.

Read more: The Christmas retail rush has kicked in early in Atlantic Canada amid COVID-19

Dan Hicks, the City of Moncton’s director of parks operations said that he is aware that people have been stealing greenery from at least two municipal parks including the Irishtown Nature Park and Centennial Park.

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“People should not be thinking that parks are their breadbaskets,” said Hicks.

Click to play video: 'Design and lifestyle expert Janette Ewen chats with Global News Morning' Design and lifestyle expert Janette Ewen chats with Global News Morning
Design and lifestyle expert Janette Ewen chats with Global News Morning – Nov 20, 2020

Hicks said they haven’t caught anyone in the act, but if they do, the RCMP can be called in and charges could be laid.

“It’s theft for one so there is the value of the product and it is the destruction of property so there is the value of tree and its replacement value”, said Hicks.

Demand for fresh-cut greenery has increased by 50 per cent at MacArthur’s Nursery said manager Tony Deluca. He believes the increase in demand may be linked to COVID-19.

“They are either working from home or people that would normally travel at this time of the year — to Florida or wherever — are staying home so there are more people concentrating on their houses and decorating,” said Deluca.

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Hicks says people can apply for a permit to harvest wreath tips on crown land from the Department of Natural Resources for $20.

Click to access harvestingFirTips.pdf

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He said anyone witnessing a theft, as Edmunds did, should report it to the city right away.

“When people are coming in and they doing this type of thing they are ruining the ecosystem — they are ruining it for the animals and they are ruining it for the people who love the park like we do,” said Edmunds.

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