Wolseley UK has suspended purchasing and sales of Chinese plywood following fresh Greenpeace allegations about the UK trade in “illegal” plywood from China.

The merchant’s supplier, Gloucester-based International Plywood, has also launched an investigation into its supply chain after being named, along with Wolseley and a number of other UK traders in a new Greenpeace report.

The report alleges that illegally logged rainforest timber from Papua New Guinea is being processed in China and then exported to Britain in plywood.

Wolseley, which has more than 200 Build Center branches, said it had removed several product lines from its shelves as a precautionary measure while a further detailed investigation was carried out.

In a statement Wolseley said: “Wolseley UK and its Build Center business are confident that robust purchasing processes are in place and that timber products are not knowingly purchased without the source being verified and approved as legally traded.”

International Plywood, which Greenpeace says has a monthly account with Wolseley worth about £700,000, said it had been diligent in ensuring all its raw materials were sourced legally. But it is contacting suppliers to re-verify legality.

It said: “The company undertakes a continuous audit of its suppliers to ensure their environmental credentials and would never knowingly purchase or sell illegal timber products.”

TTF chief executive John White said: “The TTF wholly condemns illegal logging and activities that support it. We have asked Greenpeace for details of the allegations and will take appropriate action.”

To mark the release of Greenpeace’s report, activists from the group chained themselves to a tonne of plywood at the entrance to the offices of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.