A commercial quantity of illegally cut red gum firewood has been seized at a property near Norong, 15km west of Rutherglen, by DELWP officers as part of a statewide operation.
Senior forest investigator Greg Chant said a search warrant was executed at the property two weeks ago with about 12 cubic metres of firewood seized.
Mr Chant said a vehicle, hydraulic splitter and a chainsaw allegedly used in the commission of offences under the Forests Act 1958 were also seized.
The search warrant, executed by Parks Victoria and Victoria Police, was conducted as part of Operation Block splitter, a statewide 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 an impact on the forest through the removal of habitat, including the felling of hollow-bearing trees, some of which were more than 100 years old,’’ Mr Chant said.
‘‘Those caught will face significant penalties and the potential loss of plant and equipment used in the commission of an offence.’’
Mr Chant said officers would continue to investigate reports of suspected illegal firewood suppliers as part of the operation.
■To make a confidential report of the illegal sale of firewood, or unauthorised activity relating to firewood on Victorian public land, phone 136 186 and mention Operation Block Splitter.