DHARMAPURI: In an act of daredevilry, an armed gang of over 15 masked men, believed to be a sandalwood mafia, axed two sandalwood trees after attacking the forest staff at the Harur office on Thursday.
According to police, around 2 am the gangsters, armed with deadly weapons, barged into the forest department office premises and attacked the night duty staff before laying their hands on the sandalwood trees in the compound.
With just three personnel - Suresh (43),Junior assistant, Chinnathambi (54), forest guard, Devarajalu (54), watcher - on night duty, the intruders faced no resistance. The miscreants tied the staff to a tree and gagged their eyes and mouth with cloth to prevent them from raising any alarm.
The gang then axed the two trees and escaped in a truck with logs weighing over 200 kg.
The incident came to light only when a duty watcher arrived at 5.30 am. He released the personnel and alerted the superiors.