NICOSIA - Illegal tree cutting is rising dramatically as people turn to wood to heat their homes during the economic crisis, the Forestry Department has warned.
Speaking to the media, Forestry official Antonis Choratas urged members of the public to always check the credentials of wood distributors before they purchase from them.
“This increase in illegal wood cutting is no doubt due to the people looking for cheap heating sources as the prices of electricity and petrol soar.”
The official also urged the public to report any incidents of illegal tree felling to the authorities and reminded that an amendment passed late last year has given the Forestry Department similar powers to the police when it comes to dealing with environmental offences.
“All wood importers must acquire a licence from the Forestry Department before they start doing business,” he added.
Anyone caught selling wood without a licence faces up to one year in prison and/or a €5,000 fine.