Officers from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have seized a commercial quantity of illegally cut Red Gum firewood from a property near Norong, near Rutherglen.
DELWP Senior Forest Investigator, Greg Chant, said: “A search warrant executed last week has resulted in the seizure of approximately 12 cubic metres of firewood, a vehicle, a hydraulic splitter and a chainsaw allegedly used in the commission of offences under the Forests Act 1958.”
“The seized firewood and equipment will be stored securely until the matter goes before a court,” Mr Chant said.
“There’s a likelihood that if found guilty, the firewood and other seized items may be forfeited to the Crown.
“The search warrant was conducted as part of Operation Block Splitter, a State-wide compliance program targeting the illegal removal of commercial quantities of firewood from public land.
“Firewood is a diminishing resource along the Murray River and the illegal collection of firewood has impacted on the forest through the removal of habitat, including the felling of hollow bearing trees, some of which were more than 100 years old.
“The search warrant was executed with the support of Parks Victoria and Victoria Police.
“As part of Operation Block Splitter, officers will continue to investigate reports of suspected illegal firewood suppliers and those caught will face significant penalties and the potential loss of plant and equipment used in the commission of an offence.
“If you are aware of the illegal sale of firewood or any unauthorised activity relating to firewood on Victorian public land, we encourage you to report it by calling DELWP on 136 186 and mentioning ‘Operation Block Splitter’.”
All information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence.