Have-a-go hero lumberjacks looking to tidy up after Storm Arwen are doing “more harm than good”, according to forestry bosses.
The November storm caused massive damage to woodlands across Scotland and the north of England.
Experts predict it could take years to remedy some of the extensive damage.
But some forestry users have not been content to wait for professional teams to clear dangerous fallen trees from popular paths and trails.
Forestry bosses have found “amateur lumberjacks” in damaged woodlands.
Forestry bosses say they are not only risking their own health and safety, but also that of other woodland users.
Forest users ‘still frustrated’
Simon Hodgson is chief executive of Scottish Government woodland body Forestry and Land Scotland.
He said the amateur lumberjacks are “not helping”.
He said: “We understand people are frustrated that many trails and forests remain closed.
“Chainsaw work, even with highly skilled and experienced people it still one of the highest risk occupations in the UK. Clearing windblown trees is the most dangerous aspect of that work.
“No matter how well-intentioned, amateur lumberjacks are putting life and limb at risk. Not only their own but also those of our staff and contractors, who have to make safe the amateur efforts.”
He’s an (amateur) lumberjack and he’s not ok…
Simon said they were also endangering other “forest visitors” who would assume they were using a safe trail.
“Rather than ‘helping’ to open up trails more quickly, these people are making matters worse by making us divert our resources into making safe their efforts.”
He said Police Scotland had been called about one specific individual.
He had been caught with a chainsaw, cutting storm-damaged trees “without any safety gear, authorisation or any understanding of the risks to either themselves or the public”.
“We understand the desire help to re-open trails damaged by the storms. Woodlands are a valuable place for health and wellbeing.
“Please be patient and let the professionals do this complex and dangerous work safely for everyone’s benefit.”