Tree sellers the victims of vandals
IT’S not just Christmas trees being decorated this year, but signs advertising trees have received an unwelcome splash of colour.
Signs displayed across Ashford advertising trees for sale in Orbital Park have been painted over with red paint.
Asked about the damage to his signs, long-established tree seller Tom Penfold suggested he had some idea as to who had defaced them, but refused to name anyone.
He said: “You do get it now and again.
“It could be yobs, perhaps it’s someone who feels if they wreck our signs they’ll damage our business.”
But business is booming for the Penfold family, which has been selling trees in Ashford for about 25 years. It is the ninth Christmas the family has sold trees on Orbital Park, before that they spent 15 years selling trees in Sevington.
Mr Penfold said: “Families come back year after year.
“It’s now the children of our original customers who come to buy a tree for their own children, which is lovely to see.”
But despite festive cheer from cus- tomers, the Christmas tree business is no stranger to crime.
The Penfold family, which also sells Christmas trees in Tunbridge Wells and Biddenden, grows the trees in Sittingbourne, from where they have had trees felled and stolen over the years.
Several new Christmas tree sellers have sprung up in the Ashford area. The Penfolds say they are not concerned by new sellers.
Mr Penfold said: “People get to know us, get to know the quality and always come back.”
Brian Gilbert, who died just a week after putting up his Christmas lights
Tom Penfold, who sells Christmas trees in Orbital Park, Ashford
One of the signs that has been vandalised