CHRISTMAS plans are in full swing at a historic North Yorkshire estate which is preparing more than 20,000 trees for sale.

There are widespread fears that a shortage of Christmas trees and higher prices could hit shoppers this Christmas in the latest fallout from the labour and supply chain difficulties facing the UK.

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But Stephen Wombwell, owner of the Newburgh Priory Estate near Thirsk, said they are more than ready with thousands of trees available for both the wholesale and retail market.

He said: “There is no doubt that post-Brexit regulations, backlogs at ports and a stretched labour market could lead to shortages – but it is worth remembering that only approximately one-tenth of real Christmas trees sold in the UK are imported.

“Set against this, there is no doubt there will be a very high demand for Christmas trees this year, as there was last.

"We had a record-breaking year in 2020, selling over 20,000 trees, because everyone wanted a very special Christmas in the midst of the global Covid pandemic.

"I have no doubt it will be the same this year.

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“One striking statistic last year was that at least 20 per cent of our customers had never bought a Christmas tree before."

Stephen Wombwell and his friend Will Standeven have been growing Christmas trees on the estate for the last decade, employing three to four people full-time, expanding to around 14 during peak periods.

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