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OFFBEAT

Swedish butter hustlers arrested in Norway

Police in Norway arrested two Swedish men over the weekend as they sought to sell 250 kilos of smuggled butter at 250 kroner ($42) a packet.

Swedish butter hustlers arrested in Norway
Photo: Carey Tilden

The men drove to Norway via the Swedish ski resort Storlien, one kilometre from the border, in the early hours of Saturday morning, newspaper Adresseavisen reports.

“They allegedly sold the coveted butter in Beitstad Steinkjer before driving north along county road 17,” police officer Lars Letnes of Nord-Trøndelag Police told the newspaper.  

“Then they were stopped by a police patrol, which found 250 kilos of butter in the small van.”

Police were tipped off about the crafty butter salesmen on Saturday evening and were able to apprehend them, together with their cargo of 500-gramme blocks, at around 7pm.

Both men were taken in for questioning.

According to Adresseavisen, the two men admitted to being in Norway to try turn a profit from the country's butter shortage.

”They have confessed that they bought butter in Sweden to sell at a profit in Norway. They were hoping to make some money by selling butter to Norwegians,” legal counsel Amund Sand told the paper.

Sand added that police will destroy the butter since it had not been declared at customs, no doubt to the horror of many spread-hankering Norwegians.

According to border official Hilde Petterson Ruud, the incident was unusual but not unexpected.

“We have heard about black market prices, and it was not a surprise that this happened,” Pettersson Ruud told Adresseavisen.

With no sign of a let-up in the country’s butter crisis, Norwegian radio reported that Norwegians are flocking over the border to purchase the sought-after product in Swedish stores.

Retailers on the Swedish side of the Svinesund Bridge reported selling twenty times more butter than usual, with an estimated nine out of ten butter customers coming from Norway.

Dairy giant Tine, which enjoys near-total market dominance in Norway, has indicated the shortage is likely to stretch beyond Christmas and into January.

The shortfall has been attributed to a mixture of rising demand amid a high-fat diet fad, and a drop in the supply of raw milk after a wet summer led to lower feed production.

Prohibitively high tariffs on the import of butter have also made foreign dairies disinclined to enter the Norwegian market.

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OFFBEAT

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will need to clear up more than 1,000 trucks worth of stones and rubble it left near the stunning UNESCO world heritage listed Nærøyfjord.

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord
Nærøyfjorden near to where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration left behind more than 11,000 cubic metres of rocks. Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr.

Fly-tipping and rubbish dumping are typically associated with rogue tradespeople and cowboy builders, but it’s the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that is being asked to clear some 11,250 cubic metres of rocks it left near a UNESCO listed beauty spot.

The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Aurland municipality, south-western Norway, is a landscape conservation area meaning its protected and, therefore, the rubble shouldn’t have been left there.

“This is a blister. We will clean up after ourselves,” Stig Berg Thomassen, project manager for the road authority, told NRK.

The rocks were left behind following a project to upgrade the nearby Gudvanga tunnel.

Thomassen said the mess was left in the conservation area because it wasn’t clearly marked as off-limits.

Nærøyfjorden has been listed as a landscape conservation area since 2002, and the site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list a few years later in 2005.

READ ALSO: You can now get married at this famous Norwegian beauty spot

The municipality in Aurland has given the road authority until December 17th to clear the mess. The mayor for the municipality said the road authority would begin to clear up the remnants of its building project as soon as possible.

The stones won’t be going far, though and will only be moved around 50 to 100 metres along the road to where the conservation area ends.

Project manager Thomassen has admitted that the situation could have been avoided with better planning.

“Yes, we should have probably have done that (prepared better). The situation is as it is, so we just have to clean up. It won’t take long to move the rocks. The Stones will only be transported 50 to 100 meters,” he confessed.

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