Forest thieves had better watch out – Forestry Commission Wales has beefed up security in the woodlands in South Wales that it manages on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.
Over the past few years, the theft of diesel and damage to machines and equipment at woodland sites where timber is being harvested has become a growing problem.
Often the victims of these crimes are the contractors that work for Forestry Commission Wales, many of which are small local businesses. These businesses play a vital part in the management of public forests, both planting new trees and felling others that are destined for the timber market.
Now, in order to stop people stealing from woodland sites and to help safeguard jobs in the forestry industry, Forestry Commission Wales has appointed security professionals, Minimal Risk, to provide out-of-hours cover at its harvesting sites.
Forestry Commission Wales’s District Manager, Dai Jones, said, "The forestry sector is an important part of the Welsh economy and the harvesting of trees for timber provides many rural jobs.
"Given the current tough economic climate, we are even more determined to protect the livelihoods of the contractors that work for us.
"Minimal Risk will provide specialist security services at our woodland sites and we look forward to working with them."
As well as patrolling harvesting sites, security guards will report information to the police on illegal activities such as unauthorised 4 x 4 vehicles and motorbikes using forest roads.
Minimal Risk is based in Hereford and has a number of ex-military personnel amongst its security staff. The company won the contract to provide security to Forestry Commission Wales via a procurement exercise.
Greg Cole, Minimal Risk’s Project Manager, said, "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Forestry Commission Wales on a challenging and exciting project.
"We are not a typical security company and we focus on projects where we can make the most use of our specialism in working on natural resource projects where you can get your boots muddy!
"We feel it is important to support local industry and jobs, especially in the current economic climate, and we encourage suitably qualified applicants from local communities to check out the vacancies on our recruitment website."
NOTES TO EDITORS
Minimal Risk’s focus is on niche markets and specialist projects. Its clients include government departments, aviation and defence manufacturers, maritime operators and specialist pipeline contractors in both the UK and overseas.
Vacancies for security guards are advertised on its recruitment website www.minimalriskrecruitment.com
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to the private sector and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0300 068 0057