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Police suspect large-scale timber theft on Hiiumaa

The felled trees at Paope village on Hiiumaa.
The felled trees at Paope village on Hiiumaa. Source: ERR

Police suspect a theft of forest timber worth over €100,000, on the island of Hiiumaa, ERR reports.

The timber had been felled in an area between Luidja and Paope villages on the island's northwest coast, over several weeks this autumn. However, suspicions arose that the power of attorney behind the logging permit, on behalf of the owner, a 94-year-old woman resident in Sweden, had been falsified.

"Earlier this week, police received a letter saying that trees had been felled on Hiumaa without the owner, a 94-year-old woman living abroad, being aware and using apparently fake signatures acquired by several companies," said Moonika Raudsepp, chief of the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) Kärdla station, on ETV current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera on Friday.

"We have initiated criminal proceedings in this criminal case, concerning counterfeiting. The suspicions will be clarified in the circumstances," she continued.

Around 3,400 cubic meters of timber was felled, costing over €100,000, ERR reports.

Locals have also voiced dismay that such a large volume of timber could be felled, citing the damage to scenic beauty in the region, as well as the economic loss.

"It was the most beautiful forest there. My very own childhood forest, as well as all the other neighbors'. You couldn't say anything else but that the most beautiful forest was at the village of Paope," said local resident Rainer Jancis.

Noone has been detained on suspicion of the act, the PPA says.

The original Aktuaalne kaamera report is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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