In 2023, the popularity of real Christmas trees has seen a marked increase this season. There are farms and garden centres offering real pine trees to celebrate the festive season.
It is ill advised to collect a tree from the ever shrinking pine forests in and around the ACT like what almost happened in 1984. The Canberra Times reported that a man and his three-year-old child caused a ruckus that brought in the police and a search and rescue team.
Canberra residents thinking about helping themselves to a free Christmas tree from the surrounding pine plantations should heed the adventures of a man whose actions mobilised a large section of the Australian Federal Police and caused him acute embarrassment.
When the residents of Richardson noticed a car park in their quiet suburb and saw a man with his young daughter get out of the car and head toward the Tuggeranong pine plantation, their suspicions were raised. The residents telephoned police, triggering a stakeout and search involving at least 30 uniformed police and detectives and police from the search and rescue squad.
The man and his three-year-old daughter were found safe and well. The man was on the way back to his car when he noticed police activity and thought it was because his car registration had expired.
He went home by alternative means where the police found him and the real story emerged. Senior Constable Peters said that despite the wasted efforts by the police he was pleased that members of the public had shown concern.
"We would much rather make the effort to check something out and find there is nothing than have a crime occur," he said.