Council trees in central Otago being chopped down by people helping themselves to the timber

The Central Otago council has called on police help to crack down on people illegally cutting down council trees.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan argues that the stumps in central Otago are evidence of illegal felling of trees by members of the public.

"Randomly coming up and knocking trees down without taking any safety measures in a place that the public walk their dogs, ride their bikes and so forth is actually really dangerous, as well as theft," said Mr Cadogan.

Culprits have been forced to hand the wood over to local charities when they have been caught.

But the council now says they will be handing the thieves over to police.

"We can't just keep taking that attitude so from now on it's going to be prosecutions, no questions asked, no warnings."

Families in need of timber in Alexandra are urged to use other sources, like the Salvation Army who hand out free and low cost wood, with the Rotary Club helping to split donated costs.

Alexandra Rotary president Charles French says this option is much safer.

"It is available here and there isn't really any need for people to go their own way with this," said Mr French.

The council says their concern is the safety of the public and the thieves.

It's becoming such a problem across the region the council's now cracking down and involving police. Source: 1 NEWS

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