A garden centre owner said he is ‘sickened’ after thieves stole thousands of pounds of Christmas trees and wreaths ? for the second time in two years.?The raiders smashed a fence and broke into Lea Brook Nurseries in Rawtenstall, making off with 20 Christmas trees, 46 wreaths and 14 grave flower pots.
The Burnley Road centre was also targeted in as similar theft in 2011 when 25 trees were stolen, leading owner Michael Nelson, his brother and father to camp out at the centre to protect their stock.
Michael will now be staying overnight some days once again but is also being forced to pay for extra security.
He said: ?We rely on Christmas income to see us through the winter ? it’s make or break for us we have to make enough money to pay our staff who have families to feed and to cover the bills.
?It’s a bit sickening when something like this happens.
?I have a young kid and a heavily pregnant girlfriend who is due on Christmas Day and she doesn’t want me away all night and she’s frightened of something happening to me. This is a massive blow.?
Michael has a son Joshua, who is two and a half, and is expecting daughter Sophie.
He added he needed his income to pay for items for his young family.
The stolen stock is valued at almost ?2,000 and was stolen sometime between 6.30 pm on Sunday, December 1 and the morning of Monday, December 2.
Michael is now considering installing ?16,000 security fencing to prevent future thefts.
Police confirmed they were investigating the incident and urged anyone with information to contact them on 101.