Updated: Tuesday, 31st March 2020 @ 1:33pm

'I love my trees, I hug them all': Chorlton shopkeeper 'still sad' after 'devastating' theft of 190 Christmas ferns

'I love my trees, I hug them all': Chorlton shopkeeper 'still sad' after 'devastating' theft of 190 Christmas ferns

| By Neelam Tailor

A shopkeeper has expressed his devastation and shock after 190 Christmas trees were stolen from a Chorlton minimarket three weeks ago.

Police have released CCTV footage of two men loading trees from Khawaja Brothers Mini Mart into a van at 9.40pm on Saturday November 28, and they then returned for more on Monday November 30.

The van has since been seen in Chorlton selling the goods, and the shopkeepers have given a registration number to the police but have had no response.

Malik Nawaz, who has been selling trees at the mini market on Manchester Road every Christmas for eight years, said: “I love my trees and I hug all of them so I’m devastated at what’s happened.

“I think the trees have probably already been sold and we accept the loss, I just hope karma gets them.”

The value of the trees ranged from £45 to £80, leaving the store with approximately £6000 of damage, with the crooks targeting the largest ones and leaving the smaller sizes.

“We are short of demand and now we have made this loss,” Mr Nawaz said.

“I think it’s very pathetic of people, I can’t believe it.

“This sort of thing has never happened before and it’s like Chorlton is becoming a victim of crime.

“We come in here every day, we work hard and make good money and then they come in here and take the money.

“It’s not fair, so we have to fight.”

Mr Nawaz said that the police response to the incident was ‘lame’ and they ‘should be ashamed’, but spoke positively about the support he had received from the community.

He said: “We have had much more encouragement and support from the local people and our customers than we have from the police. That is what makes our hearts ache.

"Police can't catch the culprit which is just lame and they should be embarrassed.

“We really look forward to selling the Christmas trees, it’s a bonus for us and they do so well.

“I’m still sad, and people come in asking for trees and I have to tell them what has happened.”

Despite the CCTV footage clearly showing the faces of the heartless thieves, police are yet to make any arrests.

Detective Constable Trudy Lindsey urged those who are offered the opportunity to buy cheap trees to come forward to the police.

She said: “This is their livelihood and the offenders selfishly put their business in jeopardy.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 01618564973.

Image courtesy of GMP, via Youtube, with thanks