Kannur: The forest officials on Saturday arrested two men for allegedly smuggling sandalwood from a private land at Cherupuzha in Kannur district. The arrested persons have been identified as P Jayanarayanan, of Ponnamvayal and EJ Sunny Paulose, of Perungola. The forest officials also seized 13.9 kg of sandalwood piece from the accused.
A team of forest officials led by Thaliparamba Forest range officer P Ratheesh arrested the duo when they were transporting the sandalwood in their auto-rickshaw.
According to the officials, the gang had approached a Cherupuzha native to buy a sandalwood tree on his land the previous day. But, the man refused to sell the tree to them. Following this, the four-member gang decided to steal the tree at midnight. But, their robbery attempt failed as the land owner woke up in the night and alerted the forest department. Following this, they fled with some pieces of sandalwood on the autorickshaw.
Later, the forest officials launched a search for the gang. In the search, the duo was held by the forest officials while the remaining two persons managed to flee from the spot.
In another incident, Chakkarakkal police arrested two youths in connection with the theft of a sandalwood tree at Iriveri here on Thursday. The arrested persons were identified as Lijin M (29), and KV Sruthin (29), both natives of Kannur.
According to police, the sandalwood tree was cut and taken away from the house premises of an Iriveri native. The incident occurred on September 16.
The police said the modus operandi of the sandalwood robbers involved is identifying trees during the daytime and stealing it at night.