Forest Department has initiated a drive against tricksters thriving on forest properties and cheating people of huge money in the name of getting them forest properties that would bring them good luck, health and prosperity.

Following frequent incidents, the Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, R. Kannan and District Forest Officer, I. Anwardeen ordered for a crackdown. The Range Officer, Coimbatore, G. Rajeshwaran, and Enforcement Range B. Saseedharan along with Range Officers from Periyanaickenpalayam, Karamadai and Mettuppalayam conducted a drive that lasted for three days.

It led to a chain of tricksters numbering nine arrested from Karumathampatti, Puliampatti, Pethikuttai, Mettuppalayam, Karamadai and Periyanaickenpalayam. It is learnt that the tricksters used to assure people to get them elephant tusks, sand boa snakes and star turtles and take huge sums of money from them. After dodging them for a couple of days or weeks, the gangs used to escape with the money stating that the forest properties in their possession had been taken away by the forest personnel in a surprise raid.

The forest teams that went as decoys under the pretext of being desperate to buy these properties arrested the gangsters in different places in a simultaneous operation. In the event of any such persons operating, the public on conditions of anonymity could inform the District Forest Office at 0422-2302925.