Published: 11:17, 17 November 2020
| Updated: 14:09, 17 November 2020
Two hapless thieves wearing high-vis jackets tore a bright red tree from a pot outside a home - before dumping it in a bin.
The conspicuous pair, sporting luminous yellow, were caught on CCTV ripping up the red Acer before fleeing the scene.
Couple Tyler Erby and Charlotte Maflin woke up to messages from neighbours asking why they had moved the striking red tree from their front garden in Whitstable Road, Herne Bay.
Having twigged the tree had been snatched the night before, they saw their security cameras had caught the culprits running away with the plundered plant at 11.20pm the night before
Ms Maflin, 27, said: “It showed these two women stealing our tree, running away with it and kicking our bin over.
“It was quite funny; but I was also really angry because I love that tree.
“It was one of the first things we bought when we moved in, so it meant a lot to us. It wasn’t particularly expensive – but it was unique.
“You don’t really expect two women to be going around in high-vis jackets stealing trees.”
Ms Maflin says the criminals appeared to also be wearing skinny jeans and riding boots.
The couple also found the thieves had left behind a trail of pebbles, which had been in the pot, as they ran towards the Whitstable Bends – but that ran cold.
They reported last Tuesday's incident to the police – but believed the tree was gone for good.
However, two days after the theft, the couple received a knock on the door from a woman claiming to have found the tree in bins near the Hampton Pier public toilets.
“The lady said she cleans the toilets and saw the tree in a bin. She saw our tree had gone when driving past and put two and two together,” Ms Maflin added.
“I think they dumped it because we shared the CCTV on Facebook.
"The tree probably would have been too hot to handle because you can’t put it outside your house when everyone knows one’s been stolen.”
The pair have put the tree back in the pot outside their property, having place mesh around the plant to prevent it from being stolen again.
Police have confirmed they were contacted on Wednesday about the theft.
They are urging anyone with information to contact them on 01843 222289, quoting the reference number 46/201850/20, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.