A combination of foreign currency shortages to import chemicals and an upsurge in demand has contributed to country-wide shortages. Some traders were using fake chemicals, The Property Gazette reported.

The poles are widely used in agriculture, as raiload ties, utility poles, bridge timber and for piling.

A Forestry Commission spokesperson said: “There has been a serious deficit in the supply of treated poles. As a result unscrupulous traders have resorted to painting poles with creosote or used oil.”