THE CURIOUS case of the return of the Christmas tree outside Waitrose appears to have been solved thanks to two local heroes.

The tree had been placed outside the West Street supermarket by cocktail bar, Dark Bear, to spread cheer throughout the community and to raise money for Cupboard Love food bank.

It disappeared from the area in an apparent theft on Sunday, December 27.

The tree made a miraculous return on Thursday, December 31 - after it was found discarded in a river by Bridport residents Wendy and Steve Sorrell whilst they were out walking their dog walk.

Mrs Sorrell said: "We were out on a beautiful, crisp morning walking our dog when we spotted the tree in the river at the rear of our home. I recognised one of the baubles – it had someone's name on it and I recognised it from the tree outside Waitrose.

"We decided that when we returned from walking the dog if the tree was still there we would try to retrieve it and return it to it's festive home."

After it was indeed still there, the couple returned to the scene armed with a telescopic tree lopper and a some other gadgets. It was quite a struggle for them to lift the tree because the river was at a low level and the base of the tree was water logged.

Mrs Sorrell added: "Eventually we managed to heave the tree from the river where we placed it on a trolley to return it to Waitrose. It took around 20 minutes all in all - it’s a quiet time of the year so we needed something to occupy our time!

"There was only three baubles left on the tree so we added some of our own from home."

The Christmas tree had previously been in place since Saturday, December 5. During that time, residents have been encouraged to bring their own baubles and lights to help decorate the tree as part of a community project organised by cocktail bar, Dark Bear. They were also encouraged to use a QR code next to the tree to donate to Bridport food bank, Cupboard Love.

Speaking just after the apparent theft, a spokesman for Dark Bear said: "This mindless act doesn’t detract from how everyone in the community came together and raised some money for a good cause and a great festive cheer with the quirky and fun decorations."

For more information about Cupboard Love and the work that they do, visit