Some 150 cubic meters of roundwood worth €10,400 ($10,388) have been stolen from Estonian private forests in the last ten months, state broadcaster ERR reported this week, citing the State Forest Management Centre (RMK).
At the same time, almost 126 cubic meters of cut and stacked underbrush worth €3,850 ($3,845) have reportedly been stolen from state forests.
The number of thefts has increased, the RMK Chief Forest Officer for the Tartu Region Toomas Haas told the media, adding that this is happening in spite of heightened surveillance among RMK employees, who keep watch over cutting and timber storage areas on a daily basis.
The latest theft case reported in Tartu County took place in a nature reserve, local media reported on Monday, when a 43-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were caught cutting down trees and stealing the logs.
According to Haas, the surge in the number of thefts is related to the increase in energy prices.
Following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, EU nations pledged to end their dependence on Russian energy supplies as quickly as possible. As a result, the bloc ran into a major energy crunch. Prices for gas and electricity have been spiraling, with inflation across the region smashing record highs.
In May, Estonia topped the Eurozone inflation chart, as the nation’s annual consumer prices surged 20.1%. Its Baltic neighbors, Lithuania and Latvia, had the second- and third-highest increases at 18.5% and 16.4%, respectively.
Reprinted from RT News.