COIMBATORE : Proving yet again that sandalwood tress in the city are not safe, smugglers managed to axe a 15-foot sandal tree in Sungam bypass on Saturday barely a fortnight after they felled a tree near a college at the same place. In recent months there has been a spate of incidents where smugglers have escaped with sandal logs illegally felled from various campuses and localities in the city.
On Saturday night, a gang of sandalwood tree smugglers had attempted to smuggle a 15-foot high tree in Sivaram Nagar, just a little over half a kilometer where the same gang is believed to have chopped down two trees on a private property a couple of weeks ago.
The gang was in the process of cutting off a section of the tree using power tools when area residents had heard the noise and came out of their homes to investigate. On noticing this, the smugglers fled under the cover of darkness.
Ramanathapuram police visited the spot and conducted preliminary inquiries. However, a case is yet to be registered, as the theft had not occurred on private property, police said. It was up to the Forest Department to approach them with a complaint, a police officer said. There have been instances where sandalwood tree smugglers have felled and stolen trees from across the city.