Britain has a shortage of timber for making fence panels despite thousands of trees toppling in the recent winter storms.
Although the nation has plenty of wood, most is the wrong kind for making fencing panels.
Prices have rocketed from £20 to £80 for a 6 foot by 6 foot fencing panel after DIY stores have sold out of golden-dipped wood and cannot buy-in replacement stock.
Stores and manufacturers blame booming economies in other countries like Dubai and China for paying more to divert supplies from Scandinavia and the Baltic.
The weather has not helped either, they say, as wet summers in timber growing countries have led to a poor harvest.
Demand is also at a peak after the winter winds in the UK took their toll of garden fencing.
Builder’s merchant Travis Perkins say demand for fencing panels is up 300% on last year and that they are not the only supplier trying to satisfy a big demand.
Kingfisher, the firm that runs B&Q, said their stores are receiving weekly supplies of fencing panels, but that they are sell out ‘very quickly’.
Some DIY stores are becoming so protective of what little stock of fencing panels they have left that they are even refusing to release it to other stores within the same chain.
While Britain’s main fencing maker Forest Garden is wading through 25,000 back orders that will take months to fill, Hilary Baker, chief executive of the Fencing Contractors Association, warned that several smaller suppliers face ruin.
“The shortage of panels has led to panic buying by DIY enthusiasts. It’s a bit like a bread shortage. Joe Public goes out and buys loads,” she said.
“I spoke to one contractor who normally stocks 3,000 panels and now he has none. Someone drove 60 miles to buy one fencing panel. It is absolutely crazy.”
The association says the situation should improve as suppliers in Germany, Canada and Latvia are sending more timber to the UK.