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Cyprus probes serial tree killings

world Updated: Jul 30, 2008 23:03 IST
AFP
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A Cypriot businessman and his brother appeared in court on Wednesday on suspicion they destroyed scores of pine trees because they were obstructing the view of advertising billboards.

The advertising company owner and his brother are accused of destroying 233 pine trees mainly on public highways on the island by injecting pesticide or herbicide through holes drilled into the trunks.

The men, who deny any involvement, could face maximum jail terms of three years if convicted.

“According to the forestry department, the cost of damage to the trees — which average 27 years old — is 21,127 euros,” investigating officer Iosif Katsouides told the court.

“But this is not only about money. the damage is catastrophic to the environment,” he said.

The court heard that the businessman had complained to the forestry department and asked for the removal of trees that spoilt the view of his advertising billboards.

The Cyprus Greens condemned the “tree poisoning,” saying it was not the first time that advertisers have harmed trees that obscure their billboards.

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