Turkish police detain gang selling Patara beach sand
The police said the “gang” had smuggled around 3,000 and 5,000 truckloads of beach sand since July last year, selling them to local construction firms.
A truck of sand was reportedly sold for between 125 and 2,000 Turkish Liras ($17 to $270).
Patara Beach is famous for its 18 kilometers of golden sands, which create mini scenic sand dunes.
The beach is also home to the unique Caretta carettas, which appear on the shore at nights from June to September each year to lay their eggs.
The police noticed the situation only after determining that some construction firms were selling houses with promises that the properties were built on ground made of sand from Patara.
Police determined the process was done in three stages: One team loaded the sand onto the truck, another piled the sand in a warehouse and a third team was involved in selling it.
The members of the gang are facing jail time on charges of “looting, digging a protected site and damaging the environment.”
The total amount of the smuggled sand is unknown.