19 people summonsed after police operation targeting $1 million firewood theft
Nineteen people will be summonsed to appear in court following a major joint operation between Tasmania Police and Parks and Wildlife Services targeting the theft of around $1 million worth of firewood in Southern Tasmania.
The long-running operation was launched after Parks and Wildlife Services received information that there was large scale wood theft happening in Tin Pot Marsh Creek reserve areas located at Woodsdale.
Parks have identified substantial damage to defined patches throughout the forest in this area, determining about 1,295 ha have been impacted by unlawful cutting of wood.
“As a result, a joint operation was conducted between officers from Oatlands Police, Parks and Wildlife Services and Sustainable Timbers Tasmania with the use of proactive methods and covert surveillance. 19 people have now been charged with a total of 241 offences directly in relation to the woodcutting activities occurring within this region,” Senior Sergeant Phil Curtis of the Bridgewater Police Division said.
“These offences range from unlawful possession of property, trespass, cut trees or vegetation on Crown Land, unlawfully take any natural substance from Crown Land and fail to comply with a notice of demand.
Police would like to remind the public that there are processes involved in the gathering of firewood and that permits are available from Sustainable Timbers Tasmania for the sole purpose of gathering firewood for personal use only. The sale of firewood obtained under those permits is not authorised.
“Illegal cutting of wood not only impacts on our parks and reserves, but police are also concerned of risks posed by the manner in which debris is left across tracks and in the forest canopy. This has the potential to interfere with access, such as for firefighting or posing a threat to people using the areas lawfully. People are reminded to be cautious when buying firewood and ask questions to ensure it has been sourced legally and ethically,” Senior Sergeant Curtis said.
Anyone with information about illegal firewood gathering should contact Police on 131444 or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestopperstas.com.au
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