A 61-year-old man received a fine after attempting to smuggle 143 kilogrammes of red meat from the Republic to the north.

The meat, which was a combination of lamb and beef, was detected during a search of the man’s car at the Ayios Dhometios crossing point.

Meat prices in the north are considerably higher than in the Republic, leading Turkish Cypriot consumers to buy meat products south of the Green Line and, occasionally, illegally take it back to the north.

Turkish Cypriot butchers have found themselves squeezed by their rising costs and shrinking consumer base, and slaughtered two lambs in protest at the situation in January.

They demanded the north’s ‘government’ “find a solution which would allow meat to be sold at a price range in line with the prices in South Cyprus.

“We are currently seeing our own citizens travel to South Cyprus to do their shopping. This has brought vendors, who have been crushed under the weight of economic difficulties, to the point of bankruptcy, meaning they cannot cover basic expenses like their electricity bills or rent,” they said.

They added, “we are throwing away meat we cannot sell because it stinks, and as a result animal slaughter has hit rock bottom,” and that while the crisis is worsening, “the government is acting as if everything is rosy.”