Rourkela: Twenty three persons allegedly involved in iron ore theft were arrested and more than 100 tonnes of iron ore seized from different forest areas of Koida mines in Sundargarh district during raids, police said on Monday.

The raids were conducted with the help of mining and forest officials in Ganuna, Kalanagar, Malda, Sargigarh, Terea, Bondal, Dengula and Khandadhar forest areas during the last three days.

Theft of iron ore by the mafia in the area was on for the last several years, police said. Local anti-socials had been involved with the mafia in smuggling of iron ore to various sponge iron companies in Sundargarh district and the neighbouring West Bengal and Jharkhand.

More raids would be conducted in the mining areas and the main mafia operating in the district would be nabbed soon, police said.