Bangladeshi demolition workers have deployed a new heavyweight tool to get rid of illegally constructed buildings.

Suffering from a shortage of tools and heavy equipment, city chiefs recruited a circus elephant to come to the aid of workers in the city of Barisal.

The animal rapidly reduced the illegal properties to rubble, carrying out the work of 10 men in a matter of minutes, reports say.

Illegally built properties have become more commonplace over the last decade.

In towns and cities all over the country, large blocks of flats have been built by property tycoons who often do not have the necessary planning permission.

The interim government has pledged to demolish all illegally constructed buildings, arguing they place too much stress on an already over-stretched infrastructure.

Pickaxes

“We didn’t have any bulldozer to conduct the demolition drive in Barisal, so our officers had to hire an elephant from the circus,” city corporation Chief Executive Abdul Mannan told the AFP news agency.

The flimsily-built structures had little chance against the elephant.

Workers with pickaxes were then able to finish off the job.

In Dhaka, several luxury residential tower blocks have been constructed in the up-market Gulshan and Banani areas, which critics say blight the landscape and add to pollution problems, because the sewerage system is over-burdened.

In some cases the authorities say that property millionaires illegally forced residents who live on building sites to leave the area before construction work commenced.