Getting to the root of Bonsai crime
Bonsai trees have always been a source of great fascination to people. They are perfect miniatures, grown in pots small enough to sit on a windowsill. You have to keep reminding yourself that these trees are (1) _____ real and identical to their larger cousins in all respects except their size. Rather like other small and perfectly-formed artifacts, bonsai trees (2) _____ quite a high price in the marketplace and so it doesn’t come asa great surprise to find that they also attract the attention of thieves. It seems that quite a flourishing business has (3) _____, in which they are stolen from the homes of growers and collectors, then repotted and trimmed by unscrupulous dealers, to be sold on, at good prices, to unsuspecting buyers.
One of Britain’s top collectors of bonsai trees, Paul Widdington, believes that he has found a solution, however. After losing his life’s work, (4) _____ at £250,000, when burglars broke into his home one night, Paul decided to (5) _____ the possibilities of electronically tagging the trees he bought as a replacement. This (6) _____ injecting a microchip the size of a (7) _____ of rice into the trunk of each tree. Each chip is a laser-etched with information which is (8) _____ in a central register held by the police. Paul is quite aware that this kind of data-tagging doesn’t prevent thieves from stealing the trees in the first (9) _____, although it may increase the (10) _____ of getting them back. So he’s also installing a security alarm system, complete with infra-red detectors, in his home.
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